Bailey Schafbuch | Staff Writer
Buena Vista University’s (BVU) long-time Athletic Department Equipment Manager Bob Lenhart will retire following the end of the athletic season after 13 years of service.
Lenhart has been a member of the Storm Lake community his entire life. He was born in Storm Lake, attended high school at St. Mary’s, and graduated from Buena Vista University in 1958. He worked in the hog procurement industry for almost 40 years and retired from the livestock business at 60.
In 1999, only three weeks after his first retirement, Lenhart saw an ad in the paper for Equipment Manager at BVU and took the position not only because of his love for sports but because his wife joked with him that there wasn’t enough room in the kitchen for the both of them at the same time.
When asked what his favorite part of the job has been and why he has stayed at BVU for so long, Lenhart replied that it’s all about the people. “It’s the coaches, the kids, and the athletes that I have enjoyed the most. I probably wouldn’t have stayed here as long if it wasn’t for the interaction with athletes and coaches. I can truthfully say in all my years here, I’ve never had any problems with an athlete. I give credit to the coaches and the kids they recruit; they’re great. That’s why I’m still here at 76 years old,” Lenhart stated.
Lenhart’s day-to-day duties consisted of washing practice and game gear daily, sorting and handing out equipment at the beginning of the season, collecting equipment at the conclusion of each season, and keeping the equipment room organized in the off-seasons as well. At certain times in the school year, Lenhart was coordinating equipment and laundry for up to six sports at one time; this was equivalent to taking care of around 200 athletes.
Lenhart has been so much more than just the laundry man for the athletic department. “Bob was very instrumental in the organization of our program, from equipment check-out to preparing us for travel. He was always organized and had great control of the equipment room. Our players appreciated Bob’s efforts and really enjoyed their friendship with him. You don’t replace Bob; his skills and personality will be missed next fall. We wish him nothing but the best,” Head Football Coach Jay Anderson said.
“The first time I met Bob, he was telling jokes to the volleyball team during preseason my freshman year. He always had a way of making us smile. Beyond being funny, he always seemed to be at games supporting BVU no matter which sport it was,” senior volleyball player Kelsey Essick said.
Upon retirement, Lenhart plans to spend time with his 11 grandchildren. Buena Vista University (BVU) wishes Lenhart well with his retirement.