Coaches Spotlight- Randall Shoultz
Coach Randall Shoultz of Fitzgerald
1- Congrats on having a great regular season. When did you first become interested in Track and Field?
Thank you. My 2nd year in coaching, I was at Berrien County and had coached Baseball the previous year. Berrien needed someone to coach track and I was given the job, I feel in love with the sport and have been coaching it ever since.
2- Did you compete in HS or College as an athlete? or another Sport?
I played football and basketball in HS. Went on the University of Alabama and played football there for 2 years, we won an SEC title my freshman year. At the end of my second year we had a coaching change, so I transferred to the University of West Alabama and played there for 3 years.
3- Describe your journey from novice Coach to your Head Coaching position now
My first Track job I was a head coach but very much a novice, I have been to coaching clinics, read books, watched a ton of video, and have spent a lot of time talking with other coaches in order to gain as much knowledge as possible. Each year I would choose 2 events to focus on and learn as much as possible. Today I feel like I have a good grasp on all the events, but I still spend the off season studying and learning as much as I can.
4- How important is it to have the full support of the AD and resources available to succeed?
It is very important to have the support of your AD and administrative staff at the school your working at. I will say that everyone here at Fitzgerald has supported us 100 percent in trying to get this program back to where it was in the late 80's.
5- What are some of the challenges in building a successful program?
Not Having a facility is a real big challenge. During my first track coaching job we had an asphalt track with no markings, no runways for the jumps and nothing to practice high jump on. My first year coaching we had probably 8 kids who came out (boys and girls) and 5 of them were distance runners and the other 3 were throwers. My second year there was much the same, with one exception we had a kid that wanted to learn the long and triple jump. He and I built a pit and runway and he eventually won the region championship. At Fitzgerald we have great facilities and Track has really taken off. The Community and Board of Education decided to build a track and it a top notch facility. It enables us to host lots of home meets which helps us promote our program.
Another major obstacle is having enough coaches. In most systems in South Georgia you are limited to 2 coaches; 1 girl's and 1 boy's coach. At Fitzgerald we were able to add a few coaches to help out with track this year. Coach Chris Hubert finished runner-up at state last year with Brooks Co, we also added Coach Earl Brown who was on the 4 straight state title track teams in the late 80's. Coach Cheryl Turnmire has been here coaching track with me for the past 3 years and is one of the hardest working ladies I know. Between the 4 of us we coach the Middle School and High School Teams.
And one of the biggest obstacles we face here at a small school is there are so many sports going on at one time during the spring and athletes are spread thin and doing multiple sports at one time. I commend these athletes because I know it has to be tough to juggle 2 sports and try to perform to your best in the class room.
6- Do you have a supportive Track Booster Club?
We have an upstart booster club, and the people that are involved in it are very supportive and are there anytime we need them to be. We get a lot of support from parents, some who don't have kids involved in the program anymore and that is what helps keep our program going. During track season my whole family is involved, my wife and father-in-law run our timing system and my mother-in-law keeps the kids for us it is defiantly a family affair.
7- Has Middle Track the past few years in your feeder schools helped contribute to the HS program's success?
To me the MS program is the most important aspect of the track program. We coach our Middle School and High School kids together, that way when athletes enter 9th grade they know what to expect, we obviously tailor the workouts to meet their needs and athletic ability but all the terminology and technique we teach is the same.
8- What are your program's Goals every season? County/Region title, State Championship?
We have several goals going into each season, We push our athletes to try and PR every meet, I believe this is a sure fire way to give them a great boost of confidence and show them the fruit of their labor. With us living in a results now society this is very important. Since we have been in a rebuilding phase our number one goal is to win a region title. We have had a few athletes who have focused on state titles. This year however, we have started focusing our entire team on scoring points beyond region.
9- Assess your team's Region meet and the challenges faced at Sectionals to advance.
Overall I believe we had a good region meet. Our Boys were able to win the region 1AA title while our girls were runner-up to a very talented Thomasville team. I am really looking forward to the state meet this year as I do every year, it is going to be exciting to see our kids compete and do their best, hopefully we have enough to bring home one those prized sate trophies.
10- What advancements should the GHSA make to bring our Sport on par with the 'other' 47 states ?
Start the season earlier and allow for more indoor track meet opportunities. Also have a qualifying standard for the state track meet that has to be met at a GHSA sanctioned meet that is timed FAT.
Bonus- What has been among your favorite accomplishments for the school you now coach at?
One of my favorite accomplishments here at Fitzgerald was having one of our track athletes sign a track scholarship, and then have them go on and be successful in college. The next accomplishment that is a favorite of mine, region title we won back 3 years ago. It was the first region track title in 20 years here at Fitzgerald. The bottom line is, it's about the kids, I enjoy seeing the kids PR, get medals , and hopefully end up hosting a team trophy.