Lourdes activities director Larson’s juggling act
When Eric Larson was named Lourdes activities director, he said he would continue to coach boys basketball. Then another responsibility was added: serving as the volleyball coach at every game.
ROCHESTER — Eric Larson isn’t a volleyball expert.
He doesn’t necessarily understand the strategy behind formations or how to coach a volleyball team.
But he can still be found on the bench at every Rochester Lourdes match this season, helping the Eagles while his wife and head volleyball coach Lauren is on maternity leave.
Eric Larson is not actively coaching — that role is reserved for his mother-in-law, Laurie Bowlin, Lourdes' varsity assistant, who coached at Winona Cotter when Lauren was a standout multi-sport athlete for the Ramblers. But, as a licensed head coach, he’s there helping out and supporting the Eagles squad.
It’s just another item on Larson's ever-growing list of responsibilities.
He became Lourdes' activities director and assistant principal in August, at the same time choosing to stay on as the Eagles' boys basketball coach.
The obvious question, and one Larson said he’s heard numerous times in the last few weeks: Why?
Why stay on as coach while doing a fairly demanding job as activities director and assistant principal at Lourdes? And why take on this role with two young children at home?
The second question is easier to answer: He does it all with the help of his wife, Lauren, who is on maternity leave after having their daughter, Olive, three weeks ago.
“I'm very fortunate to have a wife that just rolls with whatever,” Larson said. “Prior to taking this job, we talked about how we're just going to have to make things work. And I'm just so grateful and so fortunate that I have her at home to just make things work.”
Larson chuckled when he thought about why he kept piling items onto an already loaded plate. He understands why it seems unusual to choose to balance everything on his daily to-do list: Family life, volleyball and preparation for basketball season, while attempting to (and succeeding in) making it to other Lourdes fall sports to support their teams.
“I just really love activities,” Larson said. “I love giving kids a chance to participate in something they enjoy, and something that I feel like makes them a better person or is another platform to foster learning.”
That balancing act is really a blessing in disguise: Being able to closely watch the volleyball team has shown Larson the value of experiencing different teams and coaches up close, rather than watching from the stands. It’s an experience he’d like to replicate with other sports to learn more about how the program is run and “witness the process.”
“I mean, you know how to have a conversation with a coach like, ‘Oh, how’s the season going? How’s the team? Everybody having a good attitude?’ And that type of thing,” Larson said. “But now I’m not only interested in that side of things, but I’m also interested in what is specifically going on. What are they telling their kids Xs and Os-wise? What are they telling their kids to build them up?”
The next challenge for Larson is coming up soon, with the start of basketball practice exactly two months away (Nov. 21) and Lourdes' first game scheduled for just 10 days later, at Maple River. He’ll have to find a new balance of being present with his team, while cheering on the Eagles' girls basketball, wrestling and hockey teams.
It might take Larson time to find his footing, but he’s confident he’ll be successful with new responsibilities to juggle.
One thing he won’t have to worry about much is his family time. Larson’s son, Jack, will be at most basketball games, if not all, with the rest of his family.
“Taking this job, we kind of said we want our kids to just grow up going to everything,” Larson said. “What better place to have them grow up and come to then to be here at everything.”