TRAVERSE CITY — Call it the passing of the torch.
Lisa Taylor is stepping down as head coach of the Traverse City Central girls track program. Assistant Robyn (Eley) Thompson is stepping in.
It’s a move that was made official this week.
“I always had this in the back of my mind,” Taylor said of the change of guard. “And Robyn knew it. For the last three years, I’ve been like, ‘Are you ready, Robyn?’ I think she’ll really enjoy it and the kids will enjoy having her (as head coach), especially since she’s got such a great background with the program.”
Thompson — an All-State sprinter, hurdler and long jumper at Central in the early 1990s — joined the Trojan coaching staff when Taylor took over as head coach in 2007. She coached the sprinters, hurdlers and long jumpers — and will continue to do so. Taylor, meanwhile, will continue coaching the distance runners.
“I told her I wouldn’t do this without her, “ Thompson said. “It’s a dream role for a new head coach to step in and have someone with so much experience, talent and success as Lisa right there with you. She said, ‘Don’t be afraid to ask. I’m here to help you.’
“She’s been preparing me for this, adding more duties to my position every year. I can’t wait. It’s a fantastic opportunity. This is my hometown. There is where I went to school. This is what I love to do.”
Thompson, who has two small children, takes over a program that won Big North Conference and Division 1 regional titles last spring.
“We have a good team coming back with a strong senior class,” Thompson said. “We took more events to states last year than we have in a long time. This is going to be a very exciting season.”