BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – A former Fort Madison student, coach, and athletic director has recieved an “Official of the Year” award from a state track association.
Former FMHS track coach Timm Lamb, who’s been a state certified track official for a dozen years, was honored on Saturday by the Iowa Association of Track Officials as one of four officials of the year.
The ceremony was part of the Iowa Association of Track Coaches and Iowa Association of Track Officials annual clinic at the Gateway Conference Center & Hotel in Ames on Friday and Saturday.
The winners are determined from nomination forms that are turned over to the state track coaches who vote on the winners. Lamb was selected to win from the southeast Iowa region. Three other officials were honored from the other three state quadrants.
Lamb said he was humbled by the award and said track has been a very big part of his life dating back to when he was in junior high.
“Track’s been a big part of my life for a long time. I ran in sixth grade, junior high, high school, and college. Then I coached and became Athletic Director and served as an official at times,” Lamb said.
Lamb said he’s only been actively officiating for 12 years, but has been officiating off and on for the past 45 years. He said officiating is a way to stay involved in one of the only sports a skinny 5’10”, 120lb kid could excel at.
“When you get started in sports, we all want to be in football or basketball or baseball because that’s what you see on tv,” he said. “But I was too small and skinny for all that and took up running and that was something I was pretty good at. When you find something you can do better than someone else you go with it.”
He said officiating is his way of staying involved since his retirement from the district.
“This is such a big part of my life even as a kid growing up and all that. It’s hard to give it up and this is just my way of staying involved.”
Lamb humbly moved the credit to the supporting staff of the district and his family. He said while serving as head coach at FMHS he had assistants, such as current cross-country and girls track head coach Brian Mendez, Paul Walker, and Keith Allen. He said having those three on staff was like having three head coaches.
“I’ve been fortunate being here in Fort Madison and had a district that supported all the weird things I did as coach. I also had parents and kids that bought into the program,” he said. “My family, Kate and the kids, have also been very supportive. It’s just easier when you have all that.”
Lamb said he couldn’t pinpoint where his passion for the sport came from, but said being involved with schools at all levels requires a fondness for working with kids.
“I couldn’t tell you where it comes from. I was fortunate to have some really good kids that bought into the program that did what you asked them to do. When you become a teacher or coach you have to have something inside you that you want to work with kids,” he said.
Working track and cross country meets is different today as he doesn’t know all the kids running and they don’t him. But he said the joy comes from watching how hard the kids work to have success in.
“Nowadays the kids don’t know who I am but I enjoy watching them succeed. I had a lot of kids that weren’t going to be state or conference champs but watching them do their best it just as exciting for me,” he said.
But he said he also missed the practices and said people who know him, know he’d rather to go to practice than go to meets.
“Kids work harder in practice than they ever do in a meet. To watch those kids go through some of what they do in those practices…it’s a feeling you get that can’t be described.”