Published Sunday, February 9, 2014 at 12:01 am / Updated at 2:55 pm
End of an era

Lynn Weaver has given 37 years of his life to coaching swimming at Papillion-La Vista.

Now, he's ready to dedicate some of that time to his grandkids and a few more rounds of golf.

Weaver will be stepping aside from the Papillion-La Vista/Papillion-La Vista South swimming and diving program following this season after a 36-year run as head coach and the past season as an assistant to Nick Baker.

“I've got places I want to go and grandkids I want to see and I like my golf,” Weaver said. “When you're involved with the season, and the swim club, it doesn't leave you many other opportunities. This frees me up to do some of those things.”

Weaver decided before the season to let Baker take over the role as head coach. He has served as an assistant this season while continuing to run the Sarpy County Swim Club he helped found more than 20 years ago.

“I thought about doing a co-head coach role, but I figured Nick needed to learn all the things it takes to be a head coach,” Weaver said. “It's time for a younger guy to step in.”

Weaver says leaving the program in the hands of Baker makes his stepping aside much easier.

“I always wanted to have the right person take over and Nick's a sharp kid,” Weaver said. “When I step away, I want to feel good about it and I am very confident in Nick.”

Weaver's pool experience spans nearly 40 years. He got his start working with Larry Hill in the Ram Swim Club in Ralston before deciding to leave his job with an engineering firm and pursue his teaching degree. He got his first teaching job in Papillion in 1976 and a year later, took over the swimming and diving program.

Over the next 37 years, Weaver would turn the Monarchs into one of the elite programs in the state. When Papillion-La Vista South opened its doors in 2003, the schools continued as one program under Weaver's guidance.

Under his watch, the program has produced nearly 40 individual state champions along with five relay state champs and numerous All-American performances.

In February of 2003, his Monarchs secured the first and only state title in the program's history when his boys captured the team title in Lincoln.

“That team had a lot of great kids,” Weaver said. “That's what's been special over the years is seeing those kids that you haven't seen in years and being able to shoot the bull with them.

“It leaves you with a good feeling when you see them become successful. You want to develop good swimmers and good people.

“I like to be able to associate with the kids and I'm going to miss that part.”

Papillion-La Vista athletic director Jason Ryan says Weaver has always handled his program with an integrity that has been unmatched.

“He runs a model program,” Ryan said. “It's always been about the kids and he's taught them life lessons.

“His reputation amongst coaches and swim people is top-notch. He's a class act who leads by example. He will be missed.”

A 37-year coaching run is nearly unheard of in today's fast-paced, high stress level coaching world.

What Weaver believes has allowed him to stay interested and maintain that passion all these years has been his ability to adapt.

“Things are a little different when I first started and kids change, but you work around that,” he said. “After all these years I still go to coaching clinics and people always ask me why. I tell them if you learn one new thing, it was worth it.”

He gave up teaching six years ago, which he says allowed him to be more involved in just the coaching aspect and not get burned out from 16-hour work days.

Weaver still figures to be heavily involved running the club and says he's available to help Baker as a “volunteer” anytime if needed. He also kept open the possibility of maintaining his status as a diving judge.

But there's that 16-handicap on the golf course he'd like to improve on and those grandkids that the 67-year old would like to able to spend more of his time and energy on.

“My wife wonders if I'll be able to step away, but this is what's best for the program,” he said.

“I know I'll miss it and I'll help in anyway I can.

“I've always said that if I walked through the door and didn't have the same passion for coaching, I'd walk away. I haven't got to that point yet.”

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