Longtime Omaha Westside assistant Steve Clark knows he has a tough act to follow.
But he says he’s ready to do his best, taking over on an interim basis next season for retiring baseball coach Bob Greco.
“I’m not planning to go crazy and change things,” Clark said. “Bob was a great coach and a great example for the kids.”
Greco, the dean of Metro Conference baseball coaches, announced this week that he’s stepping down after 26 seasons. He also will step away from his duties as a math teacher at the school.
“I’ve really enjoyed myself,” Greco said. “But I was ready to spend more time with my family.”
During the spring varsity season, Greco guided the Warriors to seven state championships. His teams reached state 21 times, including a stretch of 17 straight from 1998 to 2015.
He also had success during the American Legion summer season, guiding his teams to six state championships. Twice his teams reached the Legion World Series.
But the 57-year-old Greco said after discussing the possibility with Westside Athletic Director Tom Kerkman that the time had come to move on.
“I wanted to wait until the end of this summer season to decide,” the coach said. “I know in my heart it’s the right thing for me.”
Greco coached more than 800 varsity games, finishing his career 590-239. The Warriors went 16-9 this past spring and narrowly missed the state tournament, losing to Gretna 3-2 in the district final.
The coach said he was grateful for the support he received over the years.
“I’m fortunate to have coached at a place with hardly any parent problems,” Greco said. “I hear stories about what other coaches have put up with and I’m just glad I wasn’t in that position.”
Clark said Greco has been an important coaching mentor.
“Pretty much everything I’ve learned coaching baseball came from watching Bob or talking to Bob,” Clark said.
He added that Greco did much more than coach.
“It was amazing to see him balance coaching and family,” Clark said. “That’s not an easy thing to do.”
Greco was honored as The World-Herald’s Nebraska high school boys coach of the year in 2013.
Despite all of those wins and state titles, Greco said what he’ll treasure the most was the relationships he built with his players.
“That’s what I’ll always remember,” he said. “The players are responsible for all of our success over the years and I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of it.”
Greco said his primary objective now is to spend more time with his wife of 32 years, Cathy.
“She’s taken a back seat to baseball for a lot of years,” he said. “It’s time to do something about that.”
The Grecos also will be able to spend more time with their three adult children — daughters Chaeli and Chelsea and son Joey.
Bob added that he will have the opportunity to watch baseball games from the grandstand instead of the dugout.
“I can go see Nebraska or Creighton or the Storm Chasers whenever I want,” Greco said. “It will be nice to have that freedom.”
Clark will be busy at Westside, coaching the girls basketball team in the winter and baseball in the spring, though he won’t be the Legion coach next summer.
“I think it will all go smoothly,” Clark said. “I’ll just be focusing on basketball during basketball season and baseball during baseball season.”
Greco wouldn’t rule out a possible return to coaching someday but for now said he just wants to enjoy retirement.
“I have no regrets,” he said. “I had a great time coaching here at Westside.”