Coaches tie the knot
Chrisman track coach Tyler Rathke marries his boss' daughter, Van Horn volleyball coach Jackie Becker
When Tyler Rathke arrived at William Chrisman High School he made an immediate impact on the track and field program.
He helped develop state champions and his athletes broke more school records in that short span than many had totaled in the previous century.
He also made an impact on a young teacher who split her time in the computer lab between Van Horn and Truman high schools. Oh, and she also happened to be the daughter of Rathke’s boss, Chrisman principal Mike Becker.
Saturday night, in a joyous, yet socially distanced wedding at Woods Chapel First United Methodist Church in Lee’s Summit, Jackie Becker became Mrs. Tyler Rathke in a fairytale evening that defied the pandemic odds and came off without a hitch.
“I owe everything to Jackie, she did all the work, all the planning, everything for the wedding,” Rathke said by phone from New Orleans, where the couple is honeymooning this week. “I just made sure my friends and I showed up on time.
“It was perfect. It was beautiful. It was everything we had dreamed about, and she pulled it all off without a hitch. After months and months of wondering what the COVID rules and protocol would be – if we would be able to have guests, all that stuff – we had a wedding to remember.”
With Chrisman activities director Greg McGhee and Truman basketball coach Rod Briggs serving as part of the wedding party, Rathke and Becker joined family and friends in a night of celebration.
“Looking back on all of this, it was pretty scary at first dating my boss’s daughter,” Rathke said. “Her mom Deb (a former volleyball coach at Blue Springs South High School who is now a physical education teacher at the Freshman Center) kind of set us up on our first date.
“We took it slow and then she outed me on Facebook. I was like, ‘What’s going to happen when everyone finds out I am dating my principal’s daughter?’
“And you know what? Nothing happened. Everyone was happy for us, especially her parents.”
Jackie said planning their wedding was much more stressful than dating a young man who worked at Chrisman.
“From the first day Tyler showed up at Chrisman, my dad really liked and respected him,” said Jackie, who just wrapped up her first year as the volleyball coach at Van Horn. “I love and admire my mom and dad so much, and they always liked Tyler.
“So when we started dating, it was just kind of natural. My dad has always done a great job of separating family life from his work life, and he was able to do that with Tyler. And I know he and my mom are happy for us and are so proud to have Tyler as part of our family.”
When two coaches get married, they know one thing will happen.
“Each one of us will understand when practice runs late or we have something we have to do with our coaches or players,” said Rathke, who was a state champion in the shot put and discus in 2010 at Hays High School in Hays, Kan.
“We both had aspirations of coaching, then getting into administrative work, like Jackie’s mom and dad. I think it’s really kind of cool when two coaches meet and fall in love.”
Jackie, who played volleyball at Blue Springs South and Chrisman high schools, agreed.
“We love coaching and we love each other,” she said.