DE PERE, Wis. (NBC 26) — After nearly four decades with the De Pere track and field program, including 11 years as the head coach, James Boyd is stepping aside to focus on his day job: Mayor of the City of De Pere.
Since being elected to his first term in 2020, Boyd has pulled double duty the last two seasons.
"Last year was a shortened season so I didn't get that real flavor, so I thought I would try it one more year, and that might have been one year too long," he said. "I love the kids, I love the coaches. But the challenge of trying to balance the city, the coaching and then I was also teaching as well.. It got to be a little bit too much."
Boyd's athletes said they admired his ability to balance his coaching job alongside such an important role with the city.
"I don't know how he does it," senior sprinter Jack May said. "It's just really cool that he can be a track coach and mayor at the same time."
"It definitely is a bit weird to me to think that my head coach coach is the mayor of the city and I'm just talking with this guy and he's actually the mayor of De Pere," senior hurdler Will Waterstradt laughed.
A native of De Pere and former Redbird himself, Boyd said he has been attending state track and field meets since 1980. Now, more than 30 years later, this weekend's could be his last.
"Perfect swan song? If it wouldn't rain and be as horrible as it was last year... and we have nice weather," he joked.
As far as his athletes?
"Just embrace the moment," he said. "Just do the best you can. Results will fall the way they should fall. Obviously we'd love to see them podium, but that will come."
His athletes say that answer fits right in with his coaching style.
"He doesn't really care if you take first. He doesn't care if you take last," Waterstradt said. "He just wants you to put all your effort in there and try as hard as you can."
Now, Boyd will take that same energy with him as he continues to serve the city he loves.
"I really do enjoy this," he said of his role as mayor. "Just the little bit I can do to help make a difference in the city I think is well worthwhile."
De Pere will send 12 athletes to the WIAA state meet, which begins Friday in La Crosse.