Gary Lamm joked that he’s been living in “semi-retirement” since Tennessee closed schools and ended high school sports for the rest of the semester due to the coronavirus pandemic.
After some unexpected free time to think about his future, the longtime Loretto baseball coach announced Monday he will retire.
“I’m doing the right thing,” Lamm, 62, said. “I made my mind up. I’m happy. I’m content where I’m at. I’ve had a good run.”
He coached baseball at Loretto for 26 years, leading the Mustangs to four consecutive state tournament appearances entering this past season. Loretto won the 2017 Class A state title — the school’s first baseball title — and the Mustangs finished second in the state in 2018.
“A lot of guys never get to experience that,” Lamm said of the state title run in 2017. “ … It meant a lot just for the simple fact it’s different when you win a state championship.”
Lamm teaches drivers’ education at Loretto, and he was concerned if social distancing policies carry deep into the school year they could prevent him from coaching and teaching next year.
“Who knows what the situation is going to be like in the fall or next spring?” Lamm said. “There are a lot of people out of work and I’ve had my share. There are some good young coaches out there that would love to have this job, and that was part of it.”
Lamm said he’s been told Loretto will conduct a wide search for a new coach given the program’s recent strength. Lamm said he’d be happy to see either of his assistants, Toby Dunn and David Weathers — the latter a longtime major league pitcher — become the head coach, but so far neither has expressed interest in taking over.
Loretto went 2-0 this year before the season was called off, giving Lamm a career record of 552-425 overall and 438-329 at Loretto.
Lamm has been a fixture on the high school sports scene in Lawrence County for more than four decades. A graduate of the former Butler High in Huntsville, he coached baseball for 10 years at Lawrence County High.
Earlier in his career he even coached soccer for two years at Lawrence County simply because he was asked — despite knowing little about the sport and initially resisting.
“You’ve got three Canadians on the team and they’ll show you everything you’ll need to know,” Lamm remembers being assured.
Lamm also was an assistant football coach, coaching offensive linemen at Lawrence County and coaching defensive backs and running backs at Loretto until five years ago.
Lamm was instrumental in designing Loretto’s field at the sports complex in the late 1990s. The school named it Gary Lamm Field in 2018.
That season, senior pitcher Ryan Weathers was named Gatorade’s national baseball player of the year and was picked seventh overall in the MLB draft by the San Diego Padres.
Several other players from the program have gone on to college baseball, and Lamm looks forward to seeing former players in action.
“For me to influence somebody at some point means a lot,” he said.
Lamm said he’s also excited about spending time with his wife and the rest of his family. His three sons all played for him, and now some of the grandchildren are getting involved in sports.
Lamm leaves Loretto having built it into one of the state’s stronger Class A programs.
“It’s just neat the way things have all come together,” he said.