Korby’s Corner: Spring weather creates scheduling headachesCome springtime in northern Minnesota, the job of athletic director (AD) isn’t one to be coveted.
By: Tyler Korby, Pine Journal
Come springtime in northern Minnesota, the job of athletic director (AD) isn’t one to be coveted.
From snowstorms to wind chill, rising frost and unplayable field conditions, the months of March, April and May are perhaps the most unpredictable for any in Minnesota, affecting ADs, coaches and athletes all around.
Tom Lenarz has been the AD in Cloquet for eight years. He said he’s gotten used to the hectic times.
“The first couple years you do this, it’s pretty nerve-racking,” he said. “But having been here a while, you just realize there isn’t much you can do. Bad weather happens and things definitely get busy.”
Lenarz explained that all postponements and cancellations need to be made in Cloquet by 1 p.m. on the day of the event. After contacting fellow ADs, Lenarz goes about a rescheduling system he has created over his time in office.
“When putting together a schedule, you have to leave as many spaces open as you can, knowing you will have to reschedule some dates,” he said. “The bottom line is, a decision has to be made that day so you can tell a Greenway or a North Branch things are cancelled. The word has to get out.”
From contacting the school, the coaches, the bus company and so on, Lenarz said it can be a busy process for him. However, Lenarz added that he felt for the families and athletes, as well.
“May is a busy month for our kids and parents,” he said. “Not only with sports, but kids have meetings, banquets and other things, too.”
Chad Stoskopf has been the AD in Esko for eight years. He said spring is by far his busiest season.
“No question,” Stoskopf said. “I’ve never lost any sleep over things, but as an AD there is always something to do. It can take a lot of time.”
Stoskopf described that he has rescheduled up to 50 or even 60 percent of spring schedules in years past. Sometimes not all of the games get in.
“Coaches want to play games,” he said. “And I feel for them, I really do. They aren’t just coaches in the spring, but more like greens keepers trying to get their diamonds ready for play. They put in a lot of work.”
Along with being a business owner, Cloquet’s Rick Stowell has been a coach for the Lumberjacks baseball program for the last five years. An assistant this year, Stowell recalled last year as the team’s head coach.
“I don’t know the exact numbers, but I think 10 of our first 11 games were postponed,” Stowell said. “We were even scheduled to play in the Metrodome and it was collapsed. I guess this year is looking up.”
On Tuesday several local schools postponed their respective events due to the below-freezing temps, wind chills and snow flurries that arrived in the morning. Stowell was able to relate well to the inclement weather.
“I know last year, our entire coaching staff wore long underwear to all but one game,” he said with a laugh. “I’m sure ADs hope for all sunny days.”
Not every day, according to Lenarz.
“The real thing you worry about is when the forecast says there is going to be a thunderstorm, so you postpone things, and after 1 p.m. the sun comes out,” he said. “Then we look like the idiot.”