Jeff Gschwender grew up in Louisiana, Mo.

Jeff Gschwender was recently named Mark St. Clair's successor as head track and field coach at Hannibal High School beginning at next spring. Gschwender's objective is not to build a winner, but to keep the HHS spring program among the best in the state. "This is a program that has truly been successful for a really long time," he said. "I've known about it pretty much my whole life growing up in Louisiana (Mo.)." Gschwender saluted both St. Clair and the coach he followed, Frank Lemons. "Being able to take over after both of them is pretty exciting," he said. "Those are big shoes to fill, but I'm ready to do it." Gschwender, who has been a part of the varsity staff at HHS for four years, has coached different events, depending upon the year. "I'm extremely comfortable coaching any of them," he said. "I have an event technical certification in all 19 events." Gschwender has personally coached 12 all-state track athletes in numerous events. "I've never coached a state champion, but I have coached quite a few who finished in the top three," he said. When it comes to coaching there is not a big difference between being the head coach and an assistant coach, according to Gschwender. "You are going to coach kids the way you coach them regardless," he said. Gschwender said the head track coach's responsibilities include dealing with all the paperwork, ensuring that expectations "are where they need to be" and overseeing the track team's other coaches.   danny.henley@courierpost.com