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Pudwill set to retire as Bon Homme track coach after this season

SIOUX FALLS--Byron Pudwill prowled the grounds as a coach at the Howard Wood Dakota Relays for the final time on Saturday. The longtime Bon Homme track and field coach has decided that this will be his 36th and final season, although he will cont...

Bon Homme head coach Byron Pudwill chats with another coach at the Howard Wood Dakota Relays on Saturday in Sioux Falls. (Nick Sabato / Republic)
Bon Homme head coach Byron Pudwill chats with another coach at the Howard Wood Dakota Relays on Saturday in Sioux Falls. (Nick Sabato / Republic)

SIOUX FALLS-Byron Pudwill prowled the grounds as a coach at the Howard Wood Dakota Relays for the final time on Saturday.

The longtime Bon Homme track and field coach has decided that this will be his 36th and final season, although he will continue to serve as the school's football coach.

Since 1990, Pudwill and his coaching staff have produced 61 regional and conference championships, but he is ready to allocate more time to his four grandchildren.

"It's been a long time and a lot of great moments," Pudwill said. "Track has always been a pretty good thing at Bon Homme. I'm happy with it, happy with the kids, but after 36 years, it's just kind of time. ... It's time for some young blood."

Not long ago, high school athletic seasons were well defined. Now, there is a greater demand for more offseason training in order to be more competitive and one season bleeds into the next.

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Initially, Pudwill could get a short break between the track and football seasons, but with offseason workouts beginning in the summer, that break has become shorter as the years have passed.

"It's definitely an issue," Pudwill said. "In the old days, it was much more cut-and-dried. It was football, then wrestling and track. Now, there's a million things to do in the spring. Everything gets shortened up. Track is such a paperwork nightmare, too. ... Hosting a track meet is kind of like going to a wedding on the same day Nebraska plays Oklahoma-it's a pain in the butt."

Pudwill won't be the only coach to make his exit, as the Bon Homme track and field program will undergo a major facelift next spring.

Rusty Roland has served as Pudwill's right-hand man for the majority of his tenure as the Cavalier coach-with the two combining for 62 years worth of coaching experience-but he has opted to take a position as a teacher and an assistant at Chamberlain.

At one time, Pudwill, Roland and former assistant Troy Goehring planned to retire at the same time. Goehring has since left to take a position at Ellendale Public School in North Dakota, but they have all committed to maintaining their friendship forever.

"We kind of said when we were all done, we'd all go out together, so this is kind of the end of the trail," Roland said. "Bon Homme has always had a good tradition. I've hoped that we've maintained it. I'm proud of the kids, I think they may have gotten a little stronger over the years. The heart has always been there and I hope it continues after us."

Pudwill not only intends to spend his newfound free time "spoiling" his grandkids, but also hopes to spend a large portion of it floating down the river with a fishing pole in hand.

Still, he plans on being a presence at Bon Homme track and field meets from time to time, just as he is a frequent attendee to Cavalier wrestling meets and basketball games.

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"I've always done the (scorebook) for girls basketball, I've done the book for boys basketball," Pudwill said. "I'm an old fashioned guy, if there's an event going on, I go."

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