WATERLOO — Larry Niemeyer has a new job.
A construction job.
The winningest high school softball coach in the nation, Niemeyer has been hired at Waterloo West, pending board approval.
“I’m excited,” Niemeyer said Wednesday night. “(West Athletics Director Tony Pappas) asked me a while back if I was interested, and we’ve gone back a few times in conversation.
“It’s going to be a lot of driving, but what’s the difference in driving back and forth from Waterloo, and staying up to watch TV?”
Niemeyer, 74, piled up a career record of 2,089-429 in 52 seasons. He has won four state championships – the 1970 fall title at Adel, then three summer titles at Cedar Rapids Jefferson (1983, 1997 and 1998). Eighteen times, he coached Jefferson to the state tournament.
He coached the J-Hawks to a 36-6 record (25-1 in the Mississippi Valley Conference) last summer, then was relieved of his duties by principal Chuck McDonnell after the season.
West had an opening after Tammy Utley resigned in August to move to Wisconsin.
“I am extremely happy to welcome Coach Niemeyer to West High School,” said Pappas, who has coached against Niemeyer for many years in girls’ basketball. “He will be an asset to not only our softball program, but to all of our other programs and coaches as well.
“I have learned many things from Coach Niemeyer over the last 25 years and we all look forward to working with him. West High sincerely welcomes him into our coaching family.”
Niemeyer has a building project on his hands: West was 13-28 last season. The Wahawks visit Jefferson in an MVC double-header May 28, 2013.
“They’ve got a couple good, young pitchers (sophomore Brenna Gray and freshman Jaclyn Spencer),” Niemeyer said. “It’s going to take some work. But (in Class 5A), you only have to win a couple games to get (to the state tournament).”
West’s top four hitters return next season, led by Spencer at .397.
Niemeyer hopes to bring his son, Nick, his assistant at Jefferson, along with him to West. He also said that his health, which kept him out of about 20 games last season, has improved.
“The doctors have found the problems (with my kidneys). I feel a lot better,” he said. “A lot more energy.”
A native of Burlington, Niemeyer taught at Adel before moving to Cedar Rapids in 1978. He led the Jefferson basketball team to 871 wins and the 1993 state championship.
Niemeyer retired as a teacher in 2011 and stepped down as basketball coach in March.