Justin Lamppa: Crafting a Legacy at Minnesota North College’s Itasca Campus with 700 Career Wins

by Annika Freiburger

Justin Lamppa was named the fourth coach in Itasca history in 1997. He was a young graduate of Itasca fresh off the field, armed with a love for the game that came from his father.  Little did he know that what began as a job would evolve into a storied career marked by many memories.

“I was 21 when I started coaching. I’d only planned to stay for a year,” Lamppa reflects with humility. “But sometimes, life has a way of leading you down unexpected paths.”

Being the youngest coach at Itasca, he found himself supported by everyone. “It’s different to come into a program you just graduated from to being the coach. I give credit to Mike Johnson, the Dean at the time, and the players I coached my first few years. Without them, the program would not be the way it is now.”

Itasca has clinched three state championships and 17 conference titles under Lamppa.

“Being able to build a program that has sustainability and success both on and off the field is something I’m proud of. I think it’s also important to stay in touch with students after they graduate. I won’t remember what games we won or lost, but I do remember who played third base one year.”

He has many thanks to give for his success in the program. “Bill Hare was a blessing to have as my assistant coach. He had a great relationship with students and was someone I looked up to for many years.”

Lamppa’s impact, however, extends far beyond the realm of coaching. He is involved in various administrative capacities, serving as the Men’s Division President on the MCAC Executive Committee, Men’s Athletic Director for Itasca Athletics, and a volunteer at the Grand Rapids High School youth baseball programs. His dedication to advancing baseball at all levels shows his commitment to the sport’s growth and development.

Yet, amidst the achievements, Lamppa remains grounded, attributing much of his success to the support and mentorship of his colleagues, including former players turned coaches Mike Gebhart and Kurt Fenner- and Chris Brown, his pitching coach. Their camaraderie and collective dedication have shaped Itasca’s baseball program. However, his extended family and his wife Amanda have been the true backbone to his coaching success.

“It takes a village to have a successful program, and there are lot of people behind the scenes here at Itasca and in the northland that have made this possible. Forever grateful to them!”

Minnesota North College is proud to congratulate Justin Lamppa on 700 career wins!