Coach Rick Attig never wants to retire

Super excited: Coach Attig high-fives one of the athletes. Attig has coached for more than 20 years.

Before the track and field program began at Washburn, two of the current coaches, head coach Cameron Babb and assistant coach Rick Attig, were both coaching at Blue Valley North High School. Babb got the call to become the head coach of the new track and field program here at Washburn, and asked Attig if he would join his staff. They say the rest is history.

In just a couple short years, Attig has helped Babb make the Washburn track and field program a contender on the national stage, but before he came to Washburn, Attig was trying to take a step back from coaching at the university level.

“When I was at Nebraska, my kids went to KU while I was there. My daughter got married and started having kids. It was one of those things where my wife had put up with me coaching DI for 22 years. She wanted to be close to the grandkids, so I thought that it was a good time to take a step back from coaching at the university level. My wife and I went to Blue Valley North High School. After a little while, she decided that she was ready to retire from teaching, and I never wanted to retire. Coach Babb asked me to come here,” Attig said.

It may have been luck or it may have been destiny, but Attig wanted to help Babb start the Washburn program after he had coached with him at the same high school.

“Coach Babb was with me at Blue Valley North. When he asked me to do that, I thought that it was a really great opportunity to work with him and do what I can to help get the program going. He is a really great young coach,” Attig said.

Coaching is something like teaching that most people that enter the profession fall in love with. For Attig, helping athletes succeed was his driving force to coach.

“I like seeing kids improve, and I like seeing expression on their face when they do well. I really like the technical events my area of study was biomechanics, so all of the physics of the sport. I don’t want to say physics; I don’t ever want to bring a slide reel up here with me. [Pole vault] is one of the most technical events that you can get into and I like that aspect of track. I love seeing kids improve,” Attig said.

As a coach, Attig’s time has been taken up by the countless hours helping athletes succeed, on and off the field, but he also enjoys training dogs.

“Over the past several years, I have always had dogs. I like training them. I really get into the learning process of how to train them like with the athletes. I like to train them, and at the end of the day I am a dog lover. When I coached at KU and Nebraska, I pretty much lived right on the golf course, but I never had the time to play golf,” Attig said.

Even though the program is just a couple years old, Attig’s top priority on his bucket list is to help see it become one of the best in the nation. Attig also would not mind if one of his grandchildren were one of his athletes one day.

 “When I coached at KU and Nebraska, we were able to have the top pole vault program in the country. We are close to that here, but we aren’t there quite yet, so I really want to bring that here [Washburn]. I would also like to help Coach Babb get the program to where it needs to be. I think it would be fun to maybe coach one of my granddaughters or grandsons. I’ve travelled to places before, but there is not a place that stands out,” Attig said.

While Attig makes in impact on the track for his athletes, he also makes an impact in the lives of his athletes, according to senior pole vaulter Allexis Menghini.

“I would say what I love about coach Attig outside of track is how much of a family person he is. He talks about his wife, kids and grandkids all of the time. He is a genuine person who is consistent and sure footed in his life. He has taught me so much both on and off the track and I hope I continue to learn from him,” Menghini said. “I want to be like him in the future. I want to be a coach while also balancing a family. He has a great sense of humor and has some of the best stories to tell. Coach Attig is an amazing coach and person. I am blessed to have crossed paths with him almost 10 years ago. He has changed my life.”