Lewiston High School track coach Paul Soracco conducts practice in the school hallway in 2014. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Paul Soracco looks back fondly on the five years he spent as the head indoor and outdoor track and field coach at Lewiston High School.

Soracco resigned from from the position in July, and with less than two weeks before the start of practices for the indoor track season, Lewiston is still looking for his replacement.

Soracco said his decision to step away was based in a desire to spend more time with his grandchildren, among other things. He has only positive things to say about the school, the athletes, the program and athletic director Jason Fuller.

“I couldn’t ask for a better situation,” Soracco said. “I loved it there. I am not leaving because I had an issue with anything, (or) I didn’t like the AD — we had an awesome relationship, Jason and I, and I was very thankful for the opportunity to coach there.”

Soracco said the decision to leave the program “one of the hardest decisions he’s had to make.”

Soracco took over the indoor and outdoor programs in 2014, and that spring the Lewiston boys won the Class A outdoor track state championship and have since remained a top contender in the state’s largest classification.

“The boys were always half-decent, and we brought them to one of the top-two or three programs in the state,” Soracco said. “When I got the girls program, they hadn’t won any championships, then we won a ton of KVAC championships.”

The program has grown in titles, as well as facilities and equipment. Soracco said that the equipment is all up to date at Lewiston High School in part because of grants that he helped secure for the team. The high school also opened new athletic facilities in 2018, and the new track hosted the Class A state track meet this past spring.

Lewiston head coach Paul Soracco talks with high jumpers Jazy Dumas, left, and Taylor Chamberlain during a meet at Lewiston High School in 2015. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

With practices set to begin Nov. 18, though, Lewiston has received limited interest from potential coaches.

“Being able to build that program, Jason basically let me do it myself,” Soracco said. “He left me on my own and had confidence in what I wanted to do and let me build it and do my thing. It’s kind of blowing my mind that not (many people have) applied to the job. That’s a turn-key program. Everything is in place, everything is updated, organized.”

Soracco said that organization will be crucial for the new coach. The Blue Devils usually have approximately 120-130 kids combined between the boys and girls teams, which practice together. 

“To me, everything has to be very organized,” Soracco said. “With those numbers, as a coach, you really can’t give every kid that one-on-one time they want because you have so many kids. … Obviously (the new coach will) need good organization skills. You also need to be able to handle kids. The Lewiston kids, they can be a little tough at times, but they are really great kids. I was a disciplinarian because of my football background.”

Fuller agreed that Soracco’s organization was the key to success at Lewiston.

Paul was a blessing for our program,” Fuller said. “(Assistant coach) Carolyn Court did it with him and the two were a great pair and I think they brought a lot of credibility to the program. Credit to Paul for how he organized things and kept everybody in line. I thought he brought a level of sportsmanship to the program that was important.”

While the job was stressful at times, Soracco loved the connections he created with the athletes, and he misses them the most. 

“I got to know the kids and the environment and where they’re coming from, and to me it changed my whole thinking of coaching,” Soracco said. “For me, I ended up, the relationships I had with these kids are beyond track. I still get calls from them. That’s what I am going to miss the most, honestly, is that and the impact we can have on these kids. I know myself, as an athlete, my biggest influences were my coaches. They shaped me, they gave me discipline. That’s one of the things I preach is if you’re not busting your butt in practice then you’re not going to do it in your job, your marriage.

“I wanted to form these kids and get them ready for life. I know we reached a lot of kids and it was such an awesome experience.”

Soracco also is proud that the boys and girls outdoor track teams both earned sportsmanship awards this past spring. 

“That was huge,” Soracco said. “To me, that was big. To win a sportsmanship award by your peers and other students, I think that says a lot about these kids and how far they’ve come.”

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