The LEAP Student Blog
Cindy Huynh | Lindbergh HS: "Coach Rettmann"
At Lindbergh High School in Renton, we’re known for our history of success in many aspects. We’re especially distinguished in our running programs; our cross country and track & field teams have been an important part to the culture of both the community and the school. Alongside our running programs, I personally believe we have a caring teaching staff, which plays a huge part in the future of our students. These factors combined really allowed me to begin my walk towards a bright future.
I believe success is not defined by the ratio of wins to losses or letter grades on report cards. I believe it’s what you gain in life lessons and in development of character. Throughout the past four years of high school, I’ve grown because of the people that have helped me along the way. There are many great coaches and teachers to note, but this man is both: the head cross country, boys track and distance coach, and the Lindbergh Advance Placement U.S. history teacher, Jef Rettmann. He’s a funny and approachable guy - ask him about his personal running records or an old high school story of his. Catch him running with the distance crew sometime! He is only the second coach in the history of the cross country program, following Arnie Young. And honestly, the rest is history (pun intended).
With Rettmann, the program has improved on an already great foundation. He’s developed two individual State Cross Country champions: Sam Ahlbeck in 2004 and Sarah Reiter in 2010. Even more impressive is his 2011 boys cross team, who beat Sehome by just 1 point for the State title. His 2013 girl’s team placed at an all time high at State with fourth place. The boys have been the Seamount League champs for a decade, the girls for seven years. He, along with our other fabulous coaches, have led the track team to multiple All-City and Seamount League championship titles. All this, while somehow managing his classes, climbing some mountain somewhere, and catching up on The Walking Dead.
It’s not just his impressive resume, however. Jef Rettmann has changed the lives of many athletes and students alike. His continuing effort to have everybody he meets strive for their goals started a lasting impression: community members, former team parents and athletes, past students, and even coaches all have something great to say about ol’ Rett.
As a teacher, students have seen great success through both his normal and AP classes. He’s known for combining fun and active learning models to engage his pupils. His attention to the individual and his passion for teaching shows through everyday. With Rettmann, you actually take away something valuable from his class. He’s also famous for being a popular advisory teacher - I hear he brings in donuts.
Often times, Rettmann puts his efforts into making sure everyone has an equitable chance of success. Shoes are often donated to our team by Saucony and surrounding running stores. He doesn’t hesitate to share not only with our team, but also with teams around the league. It isn’t just material, however. For many years, Rettmann, along with other coaches, hosted a free weeklong camp for several teams so that they could bond and have fun running. He emphasized that it was free so that everyone, from the new kid on up to the varsity seniors, had a chance to experience a camp and gain valuable running knowledge. He invited elite runners, trainers, and shoe store representatives to speak to the teams so that it was a very educational experience for everyone. Having personally gone to the camp, I looked forward to it every year. Running camp was definitely one of the high points of my summers and running career in general!
While I have met many notable mentors, none have changed my life more than Jef Rettmann. I’m so glad to have had him as my coach, teacher and friend. I’m sure he has many more people to inspire in the years to come.