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The Gazette KCRG
Posted November 2, 2009
Lombardis have hectic, happy life

Volleyball, football,5 kids keep coaching couple plenty busy

CEDAR RAPIDS — It’s a few minutes after Cedar Rapids Washington’s substate football victory over North Scott, and Kingston Stadium has emptied. Well, for the most part.

As usual, this is Lombardi time.

Tony Lombardi, Washington’s head coach, has just finished a couple of interviews near midfield and is talking to the mother of former player Keenan Davis. Kari Lombardi, Washington’s head volleyball coach, is chatting with a reporter and keeping an eye on the couple’s five children.

Sons Rocky, 11, and Beau, 9, have finished their ball-boy responsibilities for dad and are tossing around a football. Youngest daughter Gabriella, 3, is playing with Washington Principal Ralph Plagman, literally rolling around on the turf with him.

Daughter Payton, 7, is by her mother’s side, as is another daughter.

“I’m 5, and I’m Olivia,” energetic Olivia Lombardi chimes in, as her mother is running down the names and ages of the kids — who all have blonde, almost white hair.

It’s a crazy life this time of year for the Lombardis. They’re teachers, coaches and parents whose days begin well before the sun rises and end whenever the next game or match has completed.

“Somehow it all works out,” Kari Lombardi said. “We love it.”

The Lombardis came to Cedar Rapids from suburban Chicago in 2006 when Tony was hired as Washington’s football coach. Kari returned to teaching and coaching last year.

Washington’s volleyball team finished the regular season ranked eighth in Class 4A but was upset by Southeast Polk in the regional semifinals last week.

Washington’s football team takes an 8-2 record into a 4A first-round playoff game tonight against Cedar Rapids Kennedy at Kingston Stadium.

“My wife is such a good coach, I’m just glad she’s back coaching,” Tony Lombardi said. “She kind of sacrificed that, was a stay-at-home mom for a few years.”

Last Wednesday was a typical fall day for the couple. Tony and Kari were off to Washington by 6 a.m., so baby sitter Hanna Clocke got the children up in time to hit the bus for school.

Clocke, a college student, has been terrific, Tony and Kari agree.

“I had practice, got done at 5:30 (p.m.), then picked her up from day care and picked her up from day care,” Kari said, pointing to Olivia and Gabriella. “Then I picked Rocky up from football practice, brought him home and brought him back here. Usually Tony and I touch base at some point during the day to map out a plan. Who’s got who? Where is this one going to be? What do we have going on tonight?”

The couple make sure they support each other, as well as their children. That’s why you see Kari and the kids at Washington football games and Tony and the kids at Washington volleyball games.

Sometimes that’s the only way the whole family can be together. You know, Lombardi time.

“It is tough, but we do it,” Tony said. “We just kind of approach it as fun. It’s always a family outing.

“God has blessed us. It’s just awesome.”

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