Norfolk High football coach Tom Olson — the school’s longest serving head coach — will be retiring at the end of the 2020-21 school year, completing a 40-year career teaching social studies and coaching football, basketball, and track and field.
Olson has spent the past 35 years at Norfolk High School, including the past 23 seasons directing the Panther football program.
“I would like to first thank my wife, Valorie, and my family for their unwavering support and sacrifice to allow me to follow my dreams,” Olson said in a media release. “I would also like to thank Norfolk Public Schools, the administration and the community for their aid and support in what has been an incredible experience. It has been a privilege to be a member of such a positive and progressive organization.
“With appreciation and a special thank you to the many coaches and athletes for the shared experiences and memories over the past 35 years.”
Over the past 23 seasons, Olson compiled a record of 111-112. In addition to being the school’s longest-serving head coach, he also has the most wins in school history. Before being named Norfolk’s head coach in 1998, Olson was an assistant coach for the Panthers for 12 years, serving on the staff of the 1994 state championship football team. Olson also has served as an assistant coach with the Panther track and field program for 35 years.
“Coach Olson has been a cornerstone of the Norfolk High faculty and coaching staff,” said Ben Ries, the school’s activities director. “His leadership and commitment to the school and the community is unmatched. He has served as a mentor to countless students, athletes and coaches during his tenure. He is the mastermind behind the creativity, ingenuity and successful culture in the football program.
“Although our hallways will be different next year, NPS wishes him all the best in retirement and his next endeavors.”
A search for Olson’s replacement is underway, Ries said.