Triton tabs Van Beek as new AD
The Triton school board made its decision on a new activities director during the school board meeting on March 19 as Shane Van Beek will take over the role effective July 1. Van Beek will succeed Don Henderson, who has been in the role for 28 years and announced his retirement last fall.
Van Beek has served a key role in Triton athletics over his 13 year tenure at the school which has included an 11-year stint as the head wrestling coach while also serving as an assistant for both the football and baseball team over the years. As Van Beek, who also teaches physical education at Triton Middle School, has wrapped up his masters degree in administration, he feels that the AD job was a perfect fit for him.
“I didn’t know when or where an opportunity would arise, but I’m very happy that it happened here,” Van Beek said. “Coach Henderson has been in this role for 28 years and he’s been a great friend of mine and has done a wonderful job. I have big shoes to fill and I’m just very grateful and thankful to be the activities director at Triton.”
To help fill Henderson’s shoes, Van Beek says that the school will have a variety of sources to help him get his feet on the ground as he settles into his new role. Along with Henderson, Van Beek also has the advice of Triton Middle School principal Luke Lutterman, who previously served as an athletic director at Sauk Rapids. That along with ideas throughout the community will be something Van Beek will use to his advantage.
“Don’s done a lot of great things here and Luke has that previous experience of being in this position,” Van Beek said. “We’re going to take it on as a team approach. I’m not an ‘I’ guy, so I think that everyone together has great ideas and I’m open to all conversations.”
The Triton AD job has its share of challenges with the biggest coming with the school’s projected budget cuts grabbing recent headlines. While there could be changes on the horizon such as fewer non-conference games and changes in travel, Van Beek’s goal remains the same to give all students throughout the district the opportunity to participate in athletics.
“I feel that activites are important for our students and I see them as an extension of the classroom,” Van Beek said. “Hopefully, we can be able to cultivate a culture that shows an increase in participation and is a positive experience for all student-athletes. I’m looking at the culture of the overall school and building what we already have and trying some new things. If we’re doing everything right there, we can teach those life lessons and the fruits of the culture would be the winning.”
Overall, Van Beek’s roots will play a big role in the future of Triton athletics and with two daughters attending the school, he believes that the program can continue to thrive in the future.
“Triton is very important to me,” Van Beek said. “I believe in Triton and I think that the future of Triton can be very awesome. There are big shoes to fill, so we will see what we can do.”