BOULDER – Director of Track and Field/XC Operations, Karen Lechman, just celebrated her 21st anniversary with the University of Colorado athletic department. She was born in California, however moved to Colorado at a young age as a result of her father’s career path. Lechman grew up always wanting to attend CU and she did just that after graduating from Kennedy High School in Denver.
She graduated from Colorado in 1983 with a degree in communications before pursuing a job in the business world. Lechman worked a variety of office positions while simultaneously raising her two daughters, Mychelle and Kimberly. She landed at the Joint Institute of Laboratory Astrophysics which ultimately led to a desired transfer to Colorado’s track and field program. Lechman grew up watching and enjoying the Olympics which was why she was so interested in the job.
“Seeing the talented athletes and watching someone go from freshman to Olympian like Jenny Simpson, Emma Coburn and Shalaya Kipp, it’s just been incredible to have that experience,” said Lechman. “That’s one of the things that has kept me here so long, is that every year there’s a new group of freshmen that come in and I am very passionate about that.”
When looking back at her first year with Colorado to now, she has seen a lot of changes with the cross country and track and field programs including the Indoor Practice Facility along with overall day-to-day operations. Lechman has seen her role grow as well and prides herself on making sure everything runs smoothly.
“If a problem comes up on a trip it’s my responsibility, my duty, my job, my honor and my privilege to work with everyone and try to make things right,” Lechman explained. “Someone once said to me that I’m able to anticipate problems as they’re happening and take care of them before they become bigger and that’s one of the biggest compliments in the world to me.”
Almost all of Lechman’s responsibilities take place behind the scenes yet she still humbly gives all the credit to the rest of the cross country and track and field staff.
“I am so appreciative of working for coach Mark Wetmore, coach Heather Burroughs, Lindsey and Casey Malone and Burke Bockman. They’re all just so great,” expressed Lechman. “Our newest coach is Shaun Wicen and his predecessor was here for 10 years so I think that says a lot. I’ve been…