Community Colleges of Spokane, Valley Christian High School, University High School, Head Coach of the U.S. Women’s Junior Team at the 2017 Pan American Games
Hall of Fame Class of 2017
Linda Lanker was raised in Arizona. At the time Linda started to compete in track and field, the opportunities in high school for girls were not the same as they are today. In 1970 she joined an AAU team and competed in the sprints. In 1971 at the age of 14, Linda became an age group National Champion with a time of 59.4 in the 440 yard dash, running on a dirt track. In 1972, at age 15, Linda began to compete in the hurdles. It is the discovery of the hurdles that led her to a distinguished career on the track and would eventually open the door to coaching. From 1972 through 1977, Linda was ranked in the top ten in the nation for the 400 Intermediate Hurdles. Competing for Arizona State University from 1976 and 1977, she won the WAC Region 10 Championships and was an All-American. Ever the proponent of a healthy and active lifestyle, Linda found time to compete in Masters Track and Field meets winning three Masters National Championship titles in the hurdles.
Linda’s coaching career actually began in college when she would volunteer at local high schools and help coach hurdlers. Upon moving to Spokane, she accepted an assistant coaching position at Valley Christian in 1993. In 1998, she became the head coach and served in that position through the 2002 season. While at Valley Christian, Linda’s hurdlers became very well known for their ability to compete against the very best in the state on all classification levels. In 2001 and 2002, she guided the Valley Christian teams to the first boys and girls state titles in school history. She put Valley Christian on the map and her efforts were rewarded by her recognition as the WSTFCA boys coach of the year in 2001 and the WSTFCA girls coach of the year in 2002. After leaving Valley Christian, Linda accepted the job of guiding the boys cross country team at University High School serving as the head coach from 2003 to 2006. During that time, she worked individually with various athletes in the Spokane area focusing on the hurdles. In 2007, Linda and her husband moved to Idaho. Upon the move, she accepted an assistant coaching position at Coeur d’ Alene high school that same year. In 2010, she accepted the head coaching job serving until 2015. She guided Coeur d’ Alene to their first state trophy in 2010, coaching three individual state champions in the hurdles and one who was a state record holder. Coeur d’ Alene went on to win four more state trophies because of the program that Linda helped build. She was twice named state coach of the year for Idaho in 2013 was named the Gill Athletics Western Region Girls Coach of the Year.
In 1997, Linda accepted a part time coaching position at the Community Colleges of Spokane. Eventually, she would become a full time assistant coach. In her time at CCS, Linda built a hurdle dynasty! She guided and mentored hurdle athletes at CCS producing fifteen NWAAC conference champions, thirty-eight Junior College All-Americans and numerous athletes who went on to four year college success on all levels of the NCAA. Also in 1997, Linda was an original member of the group of coaches who came together and worked to reorganize the WSTFCA. She served on the executive board as a representative at large and as the secretary until 2001. She worked with the group of coaches who organized the first WSTFCA Convention held in Spokane and has served numerous times as clinician. She has been a tireless advocate for the sport all across the state. In 2006, Linda was appointed the Men’s Sprints and Hurdles coach for the U.S. Team that competed at the IAAF Junior World Championships held in China. In 2010, she was appointed the Men’s Sprints and Hurdles Coach for the NACAC Championships held in Florida. In 2014, she was appointed as a coaching mentor for the Junior World Championships in Eugene, Oregon. Most recently, Linda was appointed as the head coach for the United States Woman’s Team which will be competing at the Junior Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.
Of all her accomplishments, one of Coach Lanker’ s great joys is to be able to give back to the sport by hosting a learn by doing one day clinic each year before the high school season. She also has participated as a coach at summer camps and as a coach of individual USATF Junior Olympic athletes. While at Valley Christian she organized and hosted the Icebreaker Invitational. She has worked as an official at numerous district, regional, and state championship meets. She has never taken time off from coaching track and field, choosing to raise her three children as part of her track and field life. With great appreciation, she was able to have an up close view of each of her own children as they competed as athletes in the sport she loves. Linda wants to thank her supportive family, especially her husband Glenn. She would like to recognize and thank all of the assistant coaches she has had the honor of working with each season. She would also like to recognize and thank all of the amazing track and field athletes who have enriched her life and brought her so much joy. She has cherished the time spent working with all the kids that turned out for track and field.
It is with the greatest honor that the Washington State Track and Field Coaches Association recognizes Linda Lanker as one of the first three female coaches to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Linda is a shining example of the dignity, the integrity, and the grace that exists in the coaching profession. It is with great honor that we recognize her achievement as a coach and her contribution to the sport and welcome Linda into the Washington State Track and Field Coaches Association Hall of Fame.