"Better when I see you," was a daily phrase that came from Paul Solberg '61. Coach Solberg served Luther and our Athletic Department for more than 35 years. He held positions as a professor of health and physical education (credit to him for our outstanding Adaptive PE Program) and his coaching resume is truly the stuff of legend. He assisted our football team from 1966-2001 and our track team from 1966-1967. He was the head wrestling coach from 1966-1980 and 1982-1983, and as our head baseball coach from 1980-2001. He also was the head tennis coach for one season (winning a conference championship in the process). He also spent time as an administrator in our athletic department, both as an assistant and then director of our athletic department.
We lost Coach Solberg late in November of last year and since then the tributes and stories have been flooding in. The one that has stuck out to me the most is one of the first things he would say when he met with his team, an individual player, a colleague or an alum, in response to the question, "How you doing coach?" "Better when I see you," Coach Solberg would always respond. It has resonated with me so much, because it is so true for me. My mood can change so quickly when my players pop by my office or when I head out to the field to practice. I revel in the positivity that gleans off of our student population as I walk on campus. I am instantly buoyed when an alum comes down for a game or sends an email of good luck or congratulations.
In the ongoing debate of the value of higher education I think it is important to remember why we work at a small, liberal arts institution. I think most would agree with me that we do it for the students. To help them achieve success in all facets of their college experience and maybe to glean some youthful exuberance from them in the process. So, Luther College, how am I doing? I am better when I see you.