Eric Larson, Lourdes activities director, announces he is leaving the school

Jun. 3—ROCHESTER — The turnover at Rochester Lourdes is not letting up.

Much of it has been on the athletics side of things. That continued Friday when second-year activities director Eric Larson announced he will be leaving his position at the end of July. He, his wife Lauren and their two children are moving to Winona where Eric will become Winona Cotter's associate activities director.

Larson will be working under current Cotter activities director Matt O'Brien.

"I am am just excited about what he brings," O'Brien said. "It's his knowledge of having done the job before and his coaching experience. We are trying to make a commitment to extra curriculars, grades K-12. We have all the kids on the same campus trying to create a good alignment in all programs. Eric will bring a wealthy of knowledge to all of it and help us do that."

Three weeks ago, Larson announced he was stepping down as Lourdes head boys basketball coach. And now he will be leaving the school altogether, his final work day July 31.

It was less than two months ago that Lourdes head girls basketball coach Todd Greguson was told that he would not be retained by the school. That after the second-year coach had led the Eagles to a 24-5 record in 2022-23, then directed them to the state tournament this season after losing their top three starters to graduation from the year before.

The Larsons have roots in Winona and at Cotter. Lauren is the daughter of longtime Ramblers Hall of Fame girls basketball and softball coach Pat Bowlin, who is now also an elementary principal at Winona Cotter. Lauren was also the Lourdes head volleyball coach. So that is one more athletics position for the school to now fill.

"I'm sure there will be a lot of speculation about my transition from Lourdes based on the current environment around Lourdes and the amount of coaching positions we have to fill," said Larson, who was at Lourdes for seven years total and was its activities director the last two years. "But this is 100% a family decision, for the impact it will have on my wife and soon-to-be three kids (Lauren is expecting at the end of June). I loved Lourdes and I wish nothing but the best for them. I am sad to be leaving but I know there will be better days ahead for Lourdes and that they will carry on without me and that there are very good people there."

The 32-year-old Larson is a native of Maple River, Minn., and a graduate of Minnesota State University, Mankato. He received his masters from Augsburg University in Minneapolis.

He spent five years as an assistant boys basketball coach at Maple River and then was the head coach at Mankato Loyola for three seasons before leaving for Lourdes, where he was its head boys basketball coach the last five years.

Larson says coaching in today's environment is not easy. That includes at Lourdes.

"Lourdes is not immune to coaching turnover just like any other school in the current climate of high school athletics," Larson said. "It is demanding for people who are in charge of a program. It felt like toward the end of my second or third year of coaching that there was a shift. I think it was a trickle-down effect of player empowerment in pro leagues, and that trickled down to NIL (Name, Image and Likeness financial deals) in college athletics, and that trickled down to what people feel entitled to in high school athletics."

Larson said all of that took a toll on him and others at Lourdes, like it does at so many schools.

Now, he will land at Cotter where he will be with family. That sounds like a wonderful opportunity to him in so many ways.

Coaching at the varsity level will not be in his immediate future. But he doesn't rule it out down the line.

"Having immediate family in Winona will be reassuring to us," Larson said. "It's a great opportunity for my wife to go 'home' and to give back to a place and a school that raised her. This is a special opportunity."