2000 FMHS grad follows in father’s footsteps in post
BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Fort Madison has found a new Activities Director, the third one in less than two years.
But this one just might stick around.
2000 FMHS graduate Jeff Lamb was officially hired as the Fort Madison Community School District AD starting June 20. The move was approved by the Board of Directors at Monday’s regular school board meeting.
Lamb is the son of Timm and Kate Lamb, and the brother of current Fort Madison Middle School Principal Patrick Lamb.
Timm is a past Activities Director and track coach at Fort Madison High School, providing Jeff with a built-in mentor and resource for his new position.
But Lamb said it’s a new experience and moving closer to home has always been a priority for him and his wife, Rachel.
Lamb has a master’s degree in education, but has coached most of his life. He was a grad assistant at Georgia State College before returning to Iowa at Marshalltown Community College, where he started his collegiate baseball career after graduating from FMHS.
He played juco ball at Marshalltown, then transferred to Drexel University near Philadelphia. The university dropped the baseball program Lamb’s junior year, prompting him to transfer to West Chester University in Pennsylvania where they made the NCAA tourney his senior year.
Lamb was originally courted for the Marshalltown baseball program while at Georgia State, but some shifting of personnel at the community college resulted in him taking over the softball program instead. From there he moved to Clarke University in Dubuque. before taking over at Dubuque University where he’s been for the past four years.
Now, he’ll follow in his father’s footsteps, who was AD from 1997 to 2007. Timm Lamb said there was never any real discussion in the family about Jeff coming back to follow in his footsteps.
“There was never any plan to do that. It was just one of those things where a position opened up,” Timm Lamb said.
“One of the things that might have helped him was the idea of stability. In 35 years in Fort Madison I had three ADs, not counting me. As long as he does a good job everything should work out.
Jeff will be Fort Madison’s fourth Activities Director in the past six years, with current AD Ben Fry staying for just one year before moving on.
“I’ve got a lot to learn. This is a whole different mindset,” he said. “But we’ve got an 11-year-old and a 9-year-old and we’re looking for them to have the same experiences my wife and I had.
“I’m not looking to move on and I’m so excited to be closer to my parents and for my wife to be closer to her dad. Fort Madison has always been home for us and this has been easy for the adults. The kids are going to have a bit of a change.”
Lamb was also part of the 2000 Fort Madison State Championship baseball team and said he wants to help facilitate that type of success again. But he was quick to add that people are already in place to do just that.
“I can’t say enough about Derek Doherty and Ryan Smith, and the rest, and all the things they’ve done. And they’ve done them the right way,” he said. “Coaches always need more stuff, but they are going about it the right way.”
Lamb said he’s keenly aware of the migration of events and people to the middle of the state and it’s a unique challenge keeping Fort Madison on the map. But he said recent successes of the Bloodhound football, basketball, soccer, and baseball programs, and even a resurgence in the school’s music and arts programs, make the district and the community attractive and competitive.
But he said it’s Fort Madison’s people that are the biggest selling point for the district and the community.
“The biggest thing is connecting with people and getting them to understand what we love about this community, and then having them down to experience that,” Lamb said.
“We can’t compete with what some others have (in resources), but our people are our biggest selling point. You look at a Ryan Smith, he’s incredible and bringing those people to his events will be important. It’s like recruiting. You call people and sell them on what is important.
Lamb was also a part of show choir during his time at FMHS and is looking forward to helping those programs and students as well.
“I was in show choir and my wife was, too. I’m super excited to communicate with those groups and find out what I can do to help,” he said.
“It was a big part of my teenage years. but when you have Al Chapman as choir director, not many are better than that. I had amazing coaches like Dick Burch and my dad and I’m excited to get involved with anything I can to give kids in the community the opportunity to have those great experiences.”