LINCOLN, Neb. – Lingle-Fort Laramie track and field coach and athletic director Mike Lashley learned he was going to be inducted into the National High School Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame in November of 2019.
However, it wasn’t until July 28, 2021 when he and his family got to celebrate the honor at the recent ceremony in Lincoln, Nebraska.
“It was a very humbling experience,” Lashley said. “There was a magnificent group of coaches who were inducted into the national hall of fame.”
There was a total of 39 coaches inducted, along with Lashley.
There are four areas in which the hall of fame committee judges a possible candidate – longevity, service, honors and success.
Between coaching for 32 years, serving as the Wyoming Coaches Association president, sitting on the Wyoming High School Activities Association board among other services, his nine WCA coach of the year awards, 13 Conference Coach of the Year awards, along with two NHSACA National Track and Field Coach of the Year Finalist two times, to go along with 318 volleyball victories, five conference championships, three regional titles and two state runners-up and 15 state track championships, seven state runners-up, 21 conference titles and 25 regional championships, Lashley met all four areas.
On that Wednesday night in Lincoln, it was a family affair for Lashley, who had his wife and two children and one of their spouses join him on stage.
“It was fun to spend that time with my family and have them there at the ceremony,” Lashley said. “It was cool, when they call you up and read your bio and present your award, they allowed family members to come up as well.”
Lashley stressed it was a family effort.
“Anytime someone who has chosen coaching as their career, there is sacrifice from the family as well,” he said.
Lashley’s tenure at L-FL began in 1990. Over the years, he has coached track, volleyball, basketball and wrestling at both the high school and junior high levels.
“When I came to Lingle in the fall of 1990, I figured, being a smaller school, I’d be here a couple years and move on to bigger and better things,” Lashley said. “As it turns out, the Lingle community is a great place to raise a family and found a home here at Lingle-Fort Laramie High School.”
When he first started coaching, finding himself in not one but two halls of fame wasn’t even on his mind.
“When you start your coaching career, it’s not like one of your goals is to be in the hall of fame. That’s not even on the radar,” Lashley said. “For my career to go the way that it has and to be inducted into the national hall of fame is beyond comprehension.”
But Lashley knows, this wouldn’t have been possible without surrounding himself with top athletes and coaches.
“I’ve been blessed with the phenomenal athletes I’ve had the privilege to work with and the excellent coaches I’ve had a chance to work side-by-side with,” he said. “Awards like this are not won by a single person. It’s impossible. You got to have student-athletes who are willing to work hard and buy into the program and sacrifice so they can strive to achieve some level of success. You have to have coaches on your staff that are working with you and are supportive of your program and philosophies. Truthfully, it’s very little of what I’ve done and a whole lot about what other people have done.”