“Tony bleeds Bear Lake red and white,”
said Bear Lake athletic director Karen Leinaar. “He has a
passion for the sport and a knowledge for the history, which
we felt was important. He has a great rapport with our kids
and is really interested in the program. All of those things
will help us continue the tradition of Bear Lake cross
country. Without question, we won’t miss a beat.”
That transition is aided by Shrum’s
relationship with Ross — since the two have worked together
for years — and his involvement with the current athletes.
Shrum has helped steer the summer program, assisted with the
varsity track and field team at Onekama (which co-ops with
Bear Lake) and been a middle school basketball coach for the
When he resigned in December, Ross
said he’d like to continue to help the program in any way
the new coach saw fit. It appears he’ll get a shot.
“We’ve talked about it at length many
times,” Shrum said of Ross’s involvement. “It should be a
pretty smooth transition.”
That includes Shrum’s coaching
philosophy, which he said is similar to Ross’s, by placing a
priority on personal bests.
“Especially with cross country, what I
love about running is that even if you’re not the most
gifted athlete, if the effort is there and you work hard,
you’re really only competing against one person and that’s
yourself,” Shrum said. “As long as you push yourself, you
can amaze yourself at what you can do.”
Shrum would know. He’s been part of
the program, in one shape or another, for almost 20 years.
Now he’s getting a shot to leave his own footprint on the
foundation that he helped lay.
“I’m excited,” Shrum said. “We’ve got
a lot of talent coming back and I’m looking forward to
continuing the tradition of Bear Lake cross country.”