Pakkebier, White trade places

Boys track and field: Combination has led Kennedy to two straight top-5 spots at state

CEDAR RAPIDS — Aaron Stecker described Curt Pakkebier as “an old-school coach with a soft approach.”

That approach will see an expanded role within the Cedar Rapids Kennedy boys’ track and field program.

Pakkebier, 41, whose jumping and hurdling events have been the cornerstone of the program in recent years, has been elevated to head coach. He will swap places with Brian White, who will be an assistant after spending the last two years as head coach.

“This was not an easy decision for me to make,” said White, who will debut as head football coach this fall. “I found it very difficult to be the head coach of two programs.”

Pakkebier has been an assistant with the Kennedy track program since 1999.

“This position is something I’ve wanted for years,” he said. “When I was a teacher (at Viola Gibson Elementary), this wasn’t a possibility. It’s one reason I decided to leave (Gibson) and teach at Kennedy.”

Kennedy finished third at state in May after a fourth-place finish in 2013. Most of the Cougars’ points in recent years have come in the long jump, high jump and hurdles — all events in which Pakkebier was in charge.

Pakkebier is a native of Sheboygan, Wis., and was the MVP of the Central College track team in 1995.

“He has a unique way of working with kids, motivating them very quietly,” said Stecker, the Kennedy athletics director. “The kids just eat that up. He’s more than ready for this.”

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