Coach Lidgard to retire from coaching
Christine Lidgard has been working for LPHS for 20 years as an instructional assistant and also serves as the LPHS cheerleading coach. Now, Lidgard has decided to retire from coaching while still keeping her job as study hall teacher.
Lidgard has been LPHS’ cheerleading coach for about 20 years, though at first she knew nothing about cheerleading. She was offered the position of cheer coach for Pop Warner.
“A mom with six children contacted me about starting up a cheer program for LaPorte because at the time we didn’t have one and at first I said ‘No way. They had the wrong person,’” Lidgard said.
At the time, Lidgard knew nothing about cheerleading but was asked if she could help out with the cheer team for her husband’s football team, and she agreed.
“I never cheered before. I was a tomboy with three brothers, so I had never coached before. When I was told I could coach the team for my husband’s football team, I thought ‘Well, I’m already there, so I guess I could help out,’” Lidgard said.
Halfway through the season, the coach Lidgard helped with quit and left Lidgard with the whole team, along with the responsibilities.
“I always have been one to say, and I taught my kids this, ‘Once you start something, you finish it,’ so I made sure I did it. My sister-in-law was a cheerleader in high school, so I convinced her to help me out as assistant coach because I had no idea what cheerleading was really like,” Lidgard said.
Lidgard ended up having to learn more about cheer everyday to become a better coach for her team. She recorded cheers, asked the high school coach to see if she could attend practices just to see how to run a practice, and she even went to the library to get books on cheerleading and cheers.
“I taught myself anything that had to do with cheer. I was doing the best I could to get started, and the more I learned about it, the more I liked it, and I just kept going,” Lidgard said.
Lidgard’s hardwork and dedication paid off; she went from coaching Pop Warner for 10 years, then coached at PNC for three years, and moved to her current position at LPHS where she has been coaching for 20 years.
After being a Slicer her whole life, Lidgard was excited to coach for the school she and her husband once went to.
Lidgard has a busy life, from being a mother, coach, and instructional assistant.
“As far as things I have done, I was a stay at home mom for 21 years. I did home daycare for 12 years, and the year that my youngest son was a freshman was the year I started working at the high school,” Lidgard said.
Cheerleading was an amazing experience for Lidgard, and it helped her get through the hardest moments in life. A few years ago, she battled colon cancer, and after going to Chicago for treatment and chemo, Lidgard would drive right back to the high school for cheer practices, as well as games.
“That was something that was a big help for me. It gave me a reason to keep going and after five years now, I have been cancer free, and a lot of that had to do with cheer,” Lidgard said.
Now Lidgard is ready to retire and let someone new take over the cheer program at LPHS. It is bittersweet for Lidgard and cheerleaders.
“I’m going to miss her a lot when she leaves. She was always understanding, saw the best potential in everyone, was always there for everyone on the team, and was an amazing role model,” former cheerleader Leah Dicesare said.
Lidgard is going to use her time to be more involved in her six grandkids’ lives and cheer them on in their sports because one can take the cheer coach out of cheerleading but not the cheerleading out of the cheer coach.