To give you an idea of how things have changed over the years, consider the employment opportunities open to young Joe Lane when he graduated from college in 1967.
"I had 13 or 14 different jobs I could have taken," he says. "But even back then, you could tell Minnetonka was really progressive and had really good people. And I felt lucky to hook on with a school in the Lake Conference."
So Joe came to Minnetonka that fall, and stayed for 35 years, teaching physical education and coaching pretty much everything at the middle and high school levels.
But he's best known for being head boys track and field coach, a position in which he won a state championship in 1976 and which he held so long, they changed the name of the Minnetonka Invitational track meet to the Joe Lane Invitational. That honor, along with induction into the Minnesota Track Coaches Hall of Fame, were the crowning moments of a career that had an impact on an awful lot of kids.
In fact, Joe once figured out roughly how many kids he did coach over the years: an astounding 8,500.
"I just loved going to work every day," he says. "I enjoyed it so much, it was almost like a hobby."
These days he has a different hobby, spending much of his time at a hobby horse farm in Delano. And as majestic and powerful as those dozen or so horses are, they don't compare to the thousands of student-athletes who were as big an influence on Joe Lane's life as he was on theirs.
"I'll always remember the joy of the kids and their enthusiasm," Joe says. "Their excitement to learn, their energy. It was contagious."