North has first coaching change since '89
Lawrence resigns after 23 seasons as North coach
This fall, for the first time since 1986, Tim Lawrence will not be a part of the coaching staff for the Westerville North High School girls soccer team.
Citing family commitments, Lawrence resigned after 23 seasons as coach. He spent three years as an assistant coach with the Warriors before replacing Mike Barry as head coach in 1989.
"For me, it was more about priorities within my family," said Lawrence, who will continue to teach physical education in the school district. "My life has kind of changed. My kids are 9 and 12 and are involved in many activities. There's a lot going on. My wife (Amy) works full time. I guess I'm kind of surprised I have been able to get away with this (for) this long. I'm content with the decision. I'll miss the girls; I'll miss being a part of Westerville North. It's been quite an enjoyable experience to be at that school for so long."
Lawrence has been replaced by Steve Lesmes, who served as coach of the North boys junior varsity team last season.
Lesmes, 27, was born in Queens, N.Y., and graduated from Fredonia (N.Y.) High School in 2003. He scored 52 goals as a senior forward and finished with 103 goals in his prep career.
Lesmes played one season at Mount Vernon Nazarene University before transferring to Fredonia State for his sophomore and junior seasons. He then returned to Mount Vernon Nazarene, where he played his senior season before graduating in 2007.
A physical education teacher at Horizon Science Academy, Lesmes has coached the Columbus Crew Juniors Academy U16, U17 and U18 boys gold teams. He also was an assistant coach at Mount Vernon Nazarene for three years and has helped coordinate high school summer camps for boys and girls the past seven years.
Lesmes is looking forward to his latest challenge.
"We have a very strong group of girls that are involved with club soccer," he said. "We have a lot of soccer-savvy girls that are very technical-oriented, so we would like to try and focus on a technical aspect of the game as far as possession of the (ball) and playing soccer the right way. When we get into a formation and a system, we'll depend on the personalities that we have on our team and who fits the mold."
Under Lawrence, North went 317-86-57, won Division I state championships in 1990 and 1992 and was the state runner-up in 1991 and 1993.
The Warriors also won four regional titles, 10 OCC championships and 10 district titles, including eight consecutive from 1990 to 1997. Their last league championship came in 1999.
Last season, North finished 8-6-3 overall after losing to fourth-seeded Gahanna 2-0 in a district final and placed third in the OCC-Cardinal Division at 3-2-2 behind champion Dublin Jerome (7-0).
"We've had a winning season every season I've been involved with it since '86," Lawrence said. "We've had some great players come through here. The type of players we've had at Westerville North has really driven this program. We've had All-Americans. We typically have an all-state player every year, all-district players, so it's no question it's been good."
Lawrence said his longtime assistant coach, Steve Goebel, also has resigned.
"One thing that has been very important to me is having my assistant, Steve Goebel, there 26 years as well," he said. "Steve has been a critical part of our success as well. Having his influence there consistently year in and year out has been important."