Sitting in the middle of Maryville High School’s library, now-former boy’s soccer coach Dale Reuter fought to express his feelings about the program he was at the helm of for the past three seasons.
The decision, Dale Reuter said, was one he struggled with, but he is still confident in the shape of the program. The coach hasn’t just been a part of the players’ lives for the past three years, he’s been with most of them prior to his time as coach of the Spoofhounds.
The coach plans to finish the school year as the coach of the girls’ team, he said while fidgeting with his wedding ring, but the decision to step away is one that he’s confident in.
“I’m getting older, and I needed to have some time with my family before I got to the point in which I couldn't do that any longer,” Dale Reuter said. “Ultimately, it was the right decision to make, taking on the boys’ team, and I think ultimately its the right decision to go ahead and step down from there.”
Publicly, the decision wasn’t known until after the Spoofhounds’ loss to Savannah in the first round of the district tournament. Privately, it was a decision that Dale Reuter, his coaching staff and his players knew the whole season.
The season, the coach said, was highlighted by team and individual accolades.. Although at times seldom, the accomplishments and memories attained throughout the year were all part of Reuter’s plan to play one game at a time and be the best one can possibly be.
“Especially for the seniors, they're moving on, you're trying to tell them that today does matter. Yeah, you have to look at the future, but today does matter; do your best today,” Dale Reuter said. “It finally came to the point that I told the boys that this was my last season. Next year — we don't have a next year. This is our season, and we need to do the best we can. I need your dedication and commitment, and I'll give you mine.”
The special part for Dale Reuter was that he got to share the sideline with his daughter in his last season with the boys. Kylie Reuter, an assistant coach for the team, enjoyed the time that she got to spend with her dad.
“It was kind of fun to get to sort of be an equal with him on that kind of playing field to make decisions,” Kylie Reuter said. “He's got so many great ideas and plans, to get to help him kind of put those things into action was really cool. To know the meaning behind what he's doing, because as a player you just accept it and move on, but actually getting to know why and seeing those kids grow is really cool.”
Dale Reuter’s tenure brought the program district championships, but the biggest impact he had on his players was off of the field.
Throughout the coach’s time, several of his players have committed to play at a higher level. The constant support that Dale Reuter gives, players said, allowed them to develop and grow into better players and better people. His job as a state trooper, in part, keeps the boys in line as well.
There's a strong possibility that Nigel Hoilett, an agricultural sciences professor at Northwest, will fill the shoes that Dale Reuter is leaving, the former coach and a player said.
With leaving the program, the coach is hoping to leave his impact on the people he coached, not the players he coached.
“I hope I’ve left a sense of discipline with the teams,” Dale Reuter said. “I don't mean discipline, you do this you do that, but I mean discipline in the fact that they know what it's going to take to have a great season and you have to start that season way before the season even starts.”
Dale Reuter hopes that he is remembered as a good coach but more importantly an influence and mentor to the boys to want to be better players and grow up to be better men as well. His impact goes beyond the high school and is even seen readily throughout the Maryville community as well.
“Also, just the sense of community and the sense of pride in not just you but everybody around you,” Dale Reuter added. “You do your best not because of you but because of the people you're playing with and for. I'm hoping that I've instilled that enough that the players that come later they do it because of the ones that came before.”