Andrew Sherman knew someday his son would play football for him at Lincoln Southwest High School.
As Drake Sherman, Andrew’s son, went through school at Zeman Elementary, Scott Middle and then Lincoln Southwest, Andrew knew his son would play a role. Drake played two seasons for his father, as Andrew had already worked and coached at Lincoln Southwest since it opened in 2002.
When Drake graduated from Lincoln Southwest in 2020, Andrew decided he had to do something different. Andrew made a promise to himself that he would re-evaluate his situation at Lincoln Southwest as the head football coach every year.
“I could look at myself in the mirror and go, do you still really love what you are doing?” Andrew said.
Andrew wanted to try something new. He wanted to challenge himself. It just happened that there were rumblings that the athletic director role was about to open.
Andrew Sherman is taking over as athletic director at Lincoln Southwest high school, where Mark Armstrong was the previous athletic director. Andrew led the Silverhawks football team for 21 years, and was a weight training teacher and lifeguard training teacher. Andrew is a dad with two kids, Drake and Hanna Sherman and he’s been married to Myra Sherman for 23 years. And he hopes the years already spent as a leader of football will translate to success in a new leadership role.
Nearly two years ago, Andrew said he started to get all his ducks in a row, and tended to any business matters. He said he knew that it was time to take a step up in his leadership role, though he was already a leader as a head coach in football and worked with the track and field team. One thing remained clear: he wanted to be at Lincoln Southwest no matter what.
Lincoln Southwest announced April 5, that Grant Tranyowicz will become the head football coach at Lincoln Southwest. He was on Andrew’s prior coaching staff. Andrew said he loved the deep dive into all the candidates he researched, a little extra than probably needed, but he said really wanted to make sure Southwest was set up for success.
For Andrew’s family it was an interesting transition. He said it is a little bittersweet for them, but now allows him to be more present in their everyday lives. Drake plays football at the University of Nebraska-Kearney, and stepping into this role will allow him to see Drake play more often.
“When I leave for the weekend I won’t be worried about missing game plan things,” Andrew said. “I won’t be receiving 50 plus phone calls from players asking about what to do here, what to do there.”
In his first year as the athletic director, he mainly just wants to keep the strong relationships he has with the students at Lincoln Southwest. He admits that he will spend more time in the office or in meetings than ever before, but still wants to hold a strong connection with the students.
Andrew said he knows that every sport is about the kids. He said that you can have the greatest coach in the world, but if the kids aren’t present, that you won’t be able to accomplish anything.
“You can’t think of championships all the time,” Andrew said. “We have to focus on the process, get a little bit better each day and then let the end results take care of themselves.”
But when the football season rolls around in August, Andrew said that he’ll be doing anything he can to help out. Although, he did admit that he won’t know if he will miss the game or not until that first snap.
“Sitting there, watching the game will be tough,” Andrew said. “I won’t know what play is coming, or I won’t know what the defensive play call is, I just know that I will be able to help out in many different ways than on the field.”
A huge reason as to why Andrew wanted to shift into an administration role was to challenge himself. He admitted that he could have easily just coasted into retirement and kept teaching until he wanted to quit. Andrew wanted to leave just the football realm, and get into a role where he could help all of Lincoln Southwest.
“I needed something to rekindle that fire inside of me, and this position has me amped up to help people out again,” Andrew said.
There are many reason that Andrew Sherman was a great candidate to become the next athletic director at Lincoln Southwest, but Dr. J.J. Toczek, director of athletics and activities at Lincoln Public Schools, said he knew Sherman was right for the job.
“Seeing Andrew from afar, I always saw his passion with kids,” Toczek said. “You could see the enthusiasm in his work.”
Previously, Toczek was the athletic director at Lincoln Southeast High School. He took over for Kathi Weiskamp, who worked for LPS for more than 33 years. Toczek has shared a similar journey with Andrew Sherman, as Toczek was a teacher at Mickle and Irving Middle Schools in Lincoln, before he became the athletic director at Lincoln Southeast.
Toczek himself coached in the high school ranks. He became the first head girl’s volleyball coach at Papillion La-Vista in 2003. Through the years Toczek said he found himself filling in occasionally in administration roles at Papillion La-Vista South High School, while finishing up his doctorate degree at the University of Nebraska-Omaha.
Toczek said that while Andrew has the people side of the business down, the behind the scenes work is where any incoming athletic directors need work at.
“Do you have the venues reserved? Are the kids eligible to play? All those aspects come into the day-to-day aspect,” Toczek said.
For Andrew, leaving the football program felt a little bit easier, as he was able to leave on a high note. Last season the Silverhawks reached the second round of the NSAA Class A state playoffs, where the team lost to the eventual state-champions, Omaha Westside, 42-28. But as his journey to athletic director is starting up, he can feel happy about where he left the football program.
“I can walk away with a smile on my face knowing the team is in a good place, and we have people taking over who can elevate the program,” Andrew said.
Andrew Sherman will take over for Mark Armstrong as director of athletics at Lincoln Southwest High School in August of 2023.