Rob Lathrop came home to Aurora this summer when he landed the job as athletic director at Metea Valley High School. Lathrop becomes the Mustangs’ second A.D., succeeding retiring Tom Schweer, who started the program at the third District 204 school when it opened in 2009.
“What a great job he did of opening a new school and starting a program,” said Lathrop, who comes from Reed-Custer in Braidwood, where he directed both the high school and junior high programs as well as the community center in the smaller district for the past two years.
“Opening a new program is no small feat and Tom has done it twice now. He also started the program at St. Charles North. I’m really blessed to follow someone of his caliber.
“Indian Prairie is one of the top respected districts in the state of Illinois.”
Schweer is staying on to serve as an assistant swimming coach at the school.
“It will be nice to have that resource available to me,” said Lathrop. “He’s been great during the transition.”
Stellar college career
Lathrop is a 1983 graduate of West Aurora High School where he played football and ran track.
He then went to Augustana, playing on Bob Reade’s 1986 NCAA Division III national champion football team and earning All-America honors as a hurdler in track.
“It was Reade’s last national championship,” said Lathrop, who was a wide receiver/kicker on the team. “I was pretty much a blocker, though.
“We ran the (run-heavy) wing-T with double tight ends. I don’t think we ever threw more than five passes in a game.”
Lathrop, who graduated from Augie with an accounting degree, worked in sales for seven years before returning to school at Northern Illinois to get his teaching degree (in 1998).
He taught fifth grade for one year in the Troy School District in Shorewood, spent six years as a science teacher and middle school athletic director in the Valley View (Bolingbrook and Romeoville) School District and then moved up to Bolingbrook High School where he was a dean and assistant A.D. for six more years.
Family of runners
His wife Karen, who teaches science at a Romeoville middle school, ran cross country for Roger Clendenning at Waubonsie Valley High School, and her mother was a speech pathologist for Indian Prairie “so there’s some connection to the district,” said Lathrop.
The couple has three boys, Plainfield South senior Dan, sophomore Brad and seventh-grader William, who are all distance runners like their mother.
“That’s where they get their talent,” Lathrop said, but noted he came around, too.
“I’ve run a few marathons, 24 of them. I did them until my knee had had enough.”
He hopes to go the distance at Metea Valley.
“I’ve been in education 16 years and 15 have been in athletic administration,” he said.
“It’s my passion and I plan on retiring as an athletic director. Hopefully, at Metea Valley.”