Rick Weinheimer has announced he is retiring as the Columbus North cross country coach.
He will remain as a teacher and assistant track coach for the remainder of the school year, then retire from those positions as well.
Weinheimer has served as the Bull Dogs’ boys cross country coach for 38 seasons and the girls’ cross country coach for 35 seasons. Over the years, the boys qualified for the State Finals 20 times with five state champions – 2002, 2003, 2009, 2010 and 2011. The girls advanced to the State Finals on 32 occasions, winning the state in 2009.
That 2009 season was special for the coach, as the boys captured a crown from a favorite’s role and the girls ascended to the top from a underdog’s position.
“You had two state championships, one from each direction — from the favorite and from the very unlikely underdog,” Weinheimer told The Republic. “That’s a pretty special moment.”
Weinheimer said he decided to retire last summer, but he did not tell anyone because he wanted the 2016 cross country season – his last – to be about the athletes.
“I was sure last July, but if you announce it this fall, then it becomes about ‘Farewell to a longtime coach,'” he told the newspaper. “The kids deserve for this season to be about them, clear through the banquet. Then, Christmas-time fell, so this felt like the right time to announce it.”
When the school year finishes, Weinheimer plans to spend time in two recent pursuits – writing and motivational speaking.
In 2015, Weinheimer published a book called Move Your Chair. He is working on an adaptation of the book that will be titled Move Your Chair for God. He also may look to write another book on motivation and leadership.
Because of the book, Weinheimer has had nearly two dozen public-speaking engagements and has several more planned. In his talks, he offers suggestions on minimizing distractions in day-to-day life, how to pursue priorities and making the process enjoyable.
“I’ve loved having a career (as a teacher and coach) where every day you have a chance to make a difference with people,” Weinheimer told the newspaper. “That’s such a gift. (Motivational speaking) is also a way to make a difference, so I’m kind of excited. This is probably a time to make a transition between making a difference with teenagers every day and getting a chance to try to make a difference with adults.”
Columbus North has begun a search to fill the cross country coaching positions that Weinheimer is vacating. Anyone interested in those positions should contact Bull Dogs athletic director Jeff Hester in the CNHS Athletic Office.