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Eric Lider will pass the baton after 31 years but stays on as the Lakers' cross-country coach

Eric Lider has been the head track coach at Lake Oswego High School for more than three decades.After 36 years in the Lake Oswego track program and 31 as its head coach, Eric Lider is stepping down. Lider has been a mainstay with the Lakers over the years, helping build a program that has been synonymous with stellar athletes and big participation numbers.

Lider will still stay on as the team's head cross-country coach which will allow him to focus more on coaching and interactions with individual athletes.

“The management of the team and running the events and volunteers takes a toll on you,” Lider said.

Lider has helmed the boys and girls cross-country teams and boys and girls track programs for decades which is not an easy task considering it involves overseeing hundreds of athletes all with a wide array of experience and abilities.

While the Lakers have churned out athletes who have gone on to thrive at the national level, Lider has always prided himself on the development of young athletes.

“I always wanted to create a real positive, team environment. I put an emphasis on building up the younger kids who were going to be the future of the program,” Lider said.

He has also helped out special needs athletes, which have become a big part of the program as well.

“They really added so much to our program,” Lider said.

Lider has been involved in track for the majority of his life. He was a sprinter in high school at Issaquah High School in Washington and ran for Pacific Lutheran University.

He would later get an elementary school teaching position in Lake Oswego which he held until retiring in 2005.

In 1978, Lider joined the track program at the high school as an assistant and took over as the head coach in 1983.

The program would go away from a separate girls and boys coach and Lider became the head of the entire program.

“I've always had great administrative and parental support. That really made this a dream job,” Lider said.

Lider has been a well-respected coach for decades for felt like this was the right time to give up the track portion of his job.

“There were a lot of facets involved. My old joke was that, after the cross-country season, I'd give myself 10 minutes to rest and then it was time to think about track. It's just a lot of extra time and it wasn't really healthy,” Lider said.

There still won't be much time to relax, however. The cross-country season is just around the corner and another large crop of runners is expected to come out for the team, ready to compete in the revamped Three Rivers League.

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