Matt Anderson, who spent the past two years as the Lawrence High boys soccer coach and is in his sixth season as head coach of the girls program, will step down from both positions at the conclusion of the current girls season, the school announced Monday.
Citing the desire to spend more time with family, Anderson said that while he’s cherished his time at the school, the year-round responsibilities associated with coaching two programs had become too much to juggle.
“I definitely need to give more time to my family,” said Anderson, who called his decision to resign the hardest he’s ever made. “My son’s going to be in eighth grade and my daughter will be in fourth grade, and coaching both programs is a year-round gig that was taking a toll.”
Since taking over the girls program in the spring of 2005, Anderson helped turn Lawrence High into a factor over the past few seasons — particularly on the girls side, where he led the Lions to a berth in last year’s regional championship game.
And despite a 2-11 girls record this season, Lawrence High athletic director Ron Commons praised the progress made by both the boys and girls teams under Anderson’s watch.
“Being with them for six years and the progress we’ve seen with them — the level of play has definitely increased,” Commons said. “This spring hasn’t gone as well as they’d hoped, but I still think that we made a lot of strides, that we’re better competitors and a better soccer team than we were six or seven years ago.”
With what figures to be a significant increase in free time, Anderson plans on returning to school to finish his MBA and is in the process of looking for a school, though he admits there will likely be times that soccer — and Lawrence High — will be difficult to forget.
“I fell in love with Lawrence High the first time I set foot in her and looked up at all those state championships,” Anderson said. “... It’s an absolute great place to work. I’m not an alumni at the school, but I definitely felt at home from day one.”
Commons said Monday he’ll now begin the process of searching for a viable replacement, adding that he hopes to find one candidate to fill both the boys and girls coaching vacancies.
“My personal preference would be somebody that would be interested in taking both (positions),” Commons said. “That would be simplest and probably the smoothest way. But we’re realistic in knowing that it might take two people because of the time demands. We understand that.”
Jacobs also steps down: In addition to Anderson, LHS soccer assistant Josh Jacobs, who according to Commons has accepted a teaching position in another district, also will be leaving the program.