Tracy Lauderdale began his coaching career in O’Fallon School District 90 in 1993 coaching girls basketball and boys baseball.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” he said.
He coached girls basketball for a decade, making the state tournament twice and winning the state title in 2005.
Lauderdale just finished his 25th year coaching baseball. He has won numerous regional and conference titles to go along with his four state championships.
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“When I first started coaching 25 years ago, we had a schedule that had six games. Now, we usually play over 20. After my first year, Matt Seipp volunteered to help me out as an assistant coach. Ever since then, we have received lots of help from our high school players. This has helped our program succeed immensely,” Lauderdale said.
Many of people have made sacrifices over the years to help out the program,” Lauderdale said.
“My family, our athletes, and their parents —just to name a few — have always dedicated themselves to our program for the two months that it lasts during the year,” Lauderdale said.
Lauderdale said he’s particularly proud of is the school’s tournament at the beginning of the year.
“Next year will be our silver anniversary of this tournament, and a few years ago, we named the tourney after Matt Seipp,” he said.
Lauderdale’s commitment to coaching and kids recently brought him a prestigious honor, the Rick Franklin Coaching Longevity Award.
“The award itself speaks for itself — marking a milestone. I do appreciate everything that the association stands for,” Lauderdale said.
The Southern Illinois Junior High School Athletic Association is one of two governing bodies of junior high sports in the state of Illinois. The SIJHSAA was founded in 1921 and currently holds state tournaments in 23 sports.
Rick Franklin has been a coach in Southern Illinois for 50 years and has served the SIJHSAA in numerous duties throughout his career. For his loyalty and devotion to junior high sports, the association has decided to name an award in his honor.
“Mr. Franklin is a fine coach, and he is a rare breed that would dedicate 50 years to junior high athletics,” Lauderdale said.
“This award recognizes coaches who have been coaching for at least 20 years in the same district, show outstanding leadership and devotion, and create an environment for athletes to achieve their potential,” said Jeff Brokering, assistant principal at Carriel Junior High School, who presented Lauderdale with a award during halftime of a recent Fulton/Carriel basketball game.
Also attending the ceremony were Sen. Kyle McCarter; Rich Stein, the McKendree Hall of Famer and Lauderdale’s first student teaching mentor; Greg Hale, executive director of the SIJHSAA; Carriel Junior High Principal Ellen Hays; and previous Marie Schaefer and Fulton Junior High principal Allen Scharf, Lauderdale’s first boss.
“The rewarding part of this business is the relationships that you get to sustain after they play ball for you. I have gotten to attend a lot of weddings over the years, and that is a cool thing to do. Having Mr. Stein and Mr. Scharf and Sen. McCarter at the award ceremony was also a neat thing to have happen,” Lauderdale said.
This was the first year for the award. Other winners included Terry Herrell of Centralia Junior High, Gerard Albers of Germantown, Norman Henderson of Richland County Middle School, Thomas Roper of Marion Junior High, Jenna Fletcher of Marion Junior High, Tony Ringering of Red Bud Junior High, Jason Finke of Nashville Middle School, Robert Konkel of St. Ann Catholic School in Nashville, Joe Voss of St. Theresa School in Belleville, and Kent Snyder of Mascoutah.