Soquet named De Pere track and field coach
By Jordon Lawrenz
DE PERE – For the first time since 2011, there will be a new track and field coach at De Pere High School.
Randy Soquet steps into that role after being an assistant coach for the past five seasons. James Boyd decided to step down after 11 successful seasons with the Redbirds.
This is a decision that Boyd didn’t take lightly, but it’s one that’s been in the back of his mind for the past few years.
“When I retired from teaching and was elected mayor of De Pere in 2020, I knew I could not continue to do both,” said Boyd, who began his tenure as assistant coach at De Pere in 1985 under Dan Baker. “I really figured 2020 would be my last season, but because of COVID, the 2020 season was canceled.
“I thought I would try to finish out head coaching in 2021, but that season was shortened because of the continuing pandemic. I really wanted to finish with a ‘full’ season. Going into the 2022 track season, I knew it would be my last as head coach. I really enjoyed coaching track for over 30 years and hope to get back into coaching sometime in the future.”
As an assistant coach since 2017, Soquet has seen an expanded role since the pandemic.
“I started as a field events coach and JV coach,” he said. “My role with the team expanded two years ago when James Boyd retired from teaching. I picked up more of the organizational duties that happen during the school day. I’d say the majority of my track coaching experience has been literally out in the field, not on the track.”
Soquet knew that the 2022 season was going to be Boyd’s last, and he was ready to fill the head coaching void.
“I think we have a great team of coaches and the program is in a great place,” Soquet said. “I knew that the best way to continue the chemistry we have as a staff was to step up and be a candidate for the head coaching position.”
Boyd has a lot of great things to say about Soquet.
“I taught with Randy for many years at De Pere High School and was always impressed by his ability to connect with students, in addition to being a very good teacher,” Boyd said. “He was also very organized, had very good rapport with the staff and always had a willingness to learn. Those are very important qualities that a coach must possess.”
Even though Soquet only ran distance events when he competed during his freshman year in high school, Boyd had his eye on him for a coaching position.
“I approached Randy five years ago when I was searching for a throwers coach and long/triple jump coach,” Boyd said. “He really did not know a whole lot about either event but accepted my challenge to get ‘coached’ up and learn about those events. He accepted the challenge and in a very short time became quite good at coaching both events.”
Both Boyd and Soquet mentioned the large number of participants in track. For the past few years, the Redbirds have seen roughly 150 athletes participating.
“Randy understands what it takes to run a program, and I am confident that the program is in good hands and continue to be successful and welcoming to athletes of all abilities,” Boyd said.
Coming off of a season where eight individuals and one relay team competed at state, Randy Soquet has some goals of his own.
“Educators often talk about the learning loss that occurs during summer. Well, there is a similar loss for athletes when they do not continue to practice their physical and mental athletic skill set,” Soquet said. “Our coaching staff will meet the needs of our large track team.”
All roads lead to the state meet in June, and Soquet has his mind on having some of his athletes get back to that point. One of the great things about track and field is the individual aspect. While there are team events, Soquet is also focusing on having everyone be the best they possibly can be.
“We will develop athletes who will have personal best performances,” Soquet said. “The best performances will translate into individual and team success in our conference meet and then the regional and sectional meets to earn a spot in the state track meet in June.”