TC Central’s Lober Reflects on 50 Years
TRAVERSE CITY – Traverse City Central boys track and field coach John Lober has seen his legendary career span 55 years, including the last 50 at Central.
Lober joined Central’s staff in 1969 and took over the head coaching reins in 1977.
“Our staff started with three coaches, no girls program,” Lober said. “Back in the 70s, girls started running, having girls’ sports filtered into our whole athletic department and we’ve got tons of sports here at the high school now, and track is probably the most popular sport just by numbers alone.”
Over the course of his half-century tenure at Central, Lober’s teams have won 15 Big North Conference championships, 11 regional titles and the 1992 MHSAA Class A state championship. Fifty-four athletes have also earned all-state honors and 10 have won individual state championships.
Lober encourages every student-athlete to give track and field a go and makes every student feel welcome in the process. This year’s roster features 111 athletes.
“I send a personal postcard to every kid inviting them to come out for the team,” Lober said. “To me, I want them to know that they’re important and so if I can take the time to send them a postcard, they go, ‘Hey, maybe I should try this.’”
Lober retired from teaching in 2000 and stepped away at the school’s cross country coach after 28 years in 2017.
“I’m just taking it day by day, month by month,” he said. “I’d say I’d coach the rest of my life and I’m going, ‘Oh, wait a minute, don’t say that.’ No, I’m going to coach until the time comes when I need to say goodbye.”