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Lundin earns top spot in track program

Published: Tuesday, April 9, 2013 10:44 p.m. CDT

During his eight years at Minooka Community High School, Nick Lundin has had a number of coaching roles in addition to his day job as a driver education teacher.

When Lundin first came to MCHS, he coached soccer, basketball and track and field. He spent three years in the soccer program before switching to cross country, for which he remains a varsity assistant. After five years, Lundin gave up basketball as he and his wife, Jill, were starting their family.

The one sport with which Lundin has remained is track and field, and his tenure with the program was rewarded. Longtime MCHS head boys track and field coach Joe Urbelis stepped down after last spring, and Lundin succeeded him. The Indians recently began their first outdoor season with Lundin at the helm.

“Like any new coach, I was eager to get my chance to run a team, but it was good for me to learn over the years,” Lundin said. “Coach Urbelis was great in giving me new duties every year that I worked with him. It’s made the transition very easy for me. Last season I was able to do almost everything, and he was always there if I needed help or guidance. (MCHS head girls track and field coach Kevin) Gummerson has been a huge help along with our Athletic Director Bob Tyrell and his secretary Jeri Brockett in helping me along the way this first season.”

Lundin played football, basketball and baseball during his freshman and sophomore years at Lyons Township High School. He switched from football to cross country and from baseball to track and field for his junior and senior years.

With Lundin installed as its leadoff runner, the Lyons 4x800-meter relay team won a third straight state championship in his first season on the track team, in 1997. The following spring, Lundin placed eighth individually in the state in the 800-meter dash.

In high school, Lundin knew he wanted to become a coach.

“As soon as I had given up baseball, I knew that I’d have to start thinking about an achievable career,” he said. “I’ve had some great coaches who I really looked up to as a kid —still do — and I wanted to help kids the way they helped me. They all mean an awful lot to me.”

Eastern Illinois University recruited Lundin, and he spent one year on its cross country and track teams before ending his organized athletic career. He stayed on as a student at EIU, however, from which he ultimately received a master’s degree. Lundin then entered the job market.

“I was just waiting for someone to come across my resume,” he said. “(MCHS Physical Education/Health/Driver’s Education Department instructional leader) Bert Kooi did and brought me in for an interview. I was very fortunate to get the job and am extremely thankful to be at such a great school.”

Lundin focused on distance and mid-distance events as an assistant in the MCHS track and field program before starting to oversee all aspects of the team this season.

“Coach Lundin is a good coach, I’ll just say that right away,” senior high jumper Kurtis Zumbahlen said of Lundin in an interview earlier this season. “He does things in a very proper way. Our practices are very organized. We’re mostly doing very specific sets at practice for what kids need to do. Coaches know what’s expected of them. I guess you can say we get a lot of work done at practice every day.”

With a record 129 athletes on the team, Lundin says that sort of approach to practice is particularly important to the 2013 Indians.

“Organization has been one of our goals. Athletes want to be coached; if they didn’t, they (wouldn’t) be out for the sport,” Lundin said. “We must be organized in every way if we expect to get their effort and attention, day in and day out.

“One thing that I’m extremely proud of is the coaching staff that we have in our program. We are working extremely well together. I’ve tried to get coaches that really care about the kids and making them better athletes and better people. They remind me of the coaches that meant the most to me. Without their dedication, it would be very difficult. They all are extremely prepared for practice and competition. We have fun too, but we make sure that fun comes at the right time.”

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