Sit Down with Coach Venable

Kaden Meyer, GG Staff Writer

Coach Stewart Venable started working at North Star in January 2019 after Coach Mark Waller retired. 

His journey to being one of North Star’s weight training coaches started when he was in high school. “ My mother wouldn’t let me play sports, to her that was a waste of time. She wanted me to go to work,” Venable said. 

At his high school, the only way you could lift was if you were an athlete. So his mother bought him a bench and some weights from Sears. 

Venable’s coaching career didn’t start until he graduated and he joined the Army. He was lifting a lot in the military and his platoon sergeant asked him to train him. That was the first time he made money from coaching people. 

“When I got out of the military I had no skills that were marketable in the civilian world. Nobody wanted to pay you to do raids or ambushes,” Venable said, so he started working for the Virginia State Prison and worked his way to California, Arizona, then Leavenworth, Kansas. 

When he got to Leavenworth, he applied for a job in the recreation department at the United States Penitentiary. “When you’re an officer there, the inmates just hate you on site because they’re criminals and they see you as law enforcement,” Venable said. “But once you become a rec officer, instead of the guy that’s shakin’ them down and taking their property, you’re the guy that gives them a football or a basketball.”  

During his time there, he trained with the inmates and taught a class to get them their personal trainer license. He could see the impact he was making on the inmates and started to volunteer at a Catholic high school and then went to MidAmerica Nazerene University in Olathe, Kan. and became their assistant weights coach. While working there he also was running a crossfit business. 

Working at the University prompted him to transfer over to the school setting. 

Venable and his wife decided to move to Nebraska and he began working at Lincoln High, eventually moving to North Star. “Initially when I moved to Lincoln I thought, because I was certified and because I had so many years of experience, that every school would want me in their weight room to help them with their athletes, but that was not the case. Most schools didn’t want nothing to do with me because they had been running their programs fine, they didn’t need me.” 

So when the opportunity came to move to North Star he considered it a blessing to have a new home. “I’ve heard stories about North Star since I joined the district.  North Star is nothing like Lincoln High. The teachers and the coaches are very different. We have PLC and we all get along and then, when we leave school sometimes, we go and hang out together,” Venable said. “We go to each other’s houses, we call each other on weekends and holidays. Completely different from my experience before.” 

Venable said he’s loved his time at North Star and continues to help Gators get stronger everyday.