Weinheimer leaves lasting impact as coach, teacher, mentor

A good coach has a far greater impact than just honing the skills of athletes. A good coach also teaches important lessons that are applicable to life and can be helpful in many non-athletic endeavors.

Rick Weinheimer is such a coach.

The turnout Sunday at Ceraland Park of about 150 people for a retirement celebration of the former Columbus North High School cross country coach — many of them his former runners — attest to the impact Weinheimer had.

He’s noted for building North’s cross-country program into one of the best in the state. Weinheimer guided North’s boys program to five state titles (2002-03 and 2009-11) and the girls program to one (2009). For his accomplishments, he’s earned dozens of Coach of the Year honors and was inducted into the Indiana Track and Cross Country Hall of Fame in 2004.

Weinheimer, who also has written a book about leadership and motivation, received a proclamation from Mayor Jim Lienhoop declaring Sunday as “Richard A. Weinheimer Day.”

His impact goes beyond the titles and honors, however. People who attended Sunday’s celebration talked about Weinheimer’s positive energy, his advice, the examples he set and his care for the students.

The former runners who traveled from as far away as Florida said that the philosophy they learned from Weinheimer through cross country has helped them in their careers and other aspects of life as they have grown older — and expressed appreciation for that.

Kudos to Weinheimer for all he’s done teaching to students and athletes. Sunday’s recognition was well deserved.