By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — After 26 years of teaching and coaching, Joe Doucette has decided to retire from the Colfax school district.
Doucette served as the elementary physical education teacher and as a coach for girls’ basketball, track, cross country and softball.
He was a head girls’ basketball coach all together for 29 years, and during his career at Colfax, Doucette’s teams won more than 500 games.
Before coming to Colfax, Doucette taught at Winter.
The Colfax Messenger sent out a questionnaire to Joe Doucette, who graciously agreed to answer those questions.
• What are some of the changes you have noticed over the years?
In a lot of ways, it is pretty similar. I think students are pretty similar. I have taught Physical Education for most of my career, and I think that it is a great subject and a very important subject. More and more research shows the benefits of exercise and working together. My job stayed pretty much the same over the years, but we are always looking for creative and different ways to motivate students. I think most of the changes to Physical Education and to Colfax schools are signs of progress and leadership.
• What did you like best about teaching at Colfax?
Colfax has been great for my family and I. The whole community and the school district have done so much for us. My children all went through the district, and at every level, they were treated fairly and with respect but also held accountable for their effort and action. The staff at Colfax made my kids love school and look forward to it every day. Even though some of the administration has changed, everyone trusted me and motivated me to do the best job possible. Athletics were also a big part of my family’s lives. The support for our teams was unbelievable. My daughters loved every aspect of high school athletics, even though there were a lot of life lessons and tough losses. One of the things they loved the most was the community support.
• What will you never forget?
The thing that sticks out to me that I will never forget is that I was fortunate to spend time with so many great kids and their families. I would start teaching students as kindergarten students and have them six years for sure. But many students I got to coach them as they continued through school, and I enjoyed seeing them develop into young men and women. So at times, I would be involved with students for all thirteen years at Colfax.
• How long have you coached?
I have been a head coach in girls basketball for 29 years. I coached track at Colfax from 1990 to 2006 as head coach and later as an assistant. We started the cross country program in 1992, and I have coached that for 24 years. I was the head softball coach from 2009 to 2014.
• Why did you decide to coach?
I have always loved sports every since I was young. Sports have had a huge impact on my life. I love the challenge. I love the idea of the people working together to accomplish great things. I was fortunate to have a lot of great coaches help me when I was growing up. I really believe that anything is possible if you work hard and work together.
• What will you always remember about your coaching career?
I have a lot of great memories when it comes to coaching. The thing that sticks out to me is the bond that you have. Certain teams just believe in each other and bring out the best in each other. I will always remember the teamwork and the “put others first” attitude that so many people have. In a team setting, you can easily see the good qualities in people even in tough situations and losses.
• What will you miss about your students or teaching or coaching?
I do plan on coaching and substitute teaching for a few more years, and I am really looking forward to that. The thing that I will miss the most is the spirit of the school. Kids playing for each other. When you run onto the floor, you represent something you’ve worked hard for and the honor of representing your school and community. Another thing I will miss terribly is Elementary Physical Education. It’s new and fresh, and many kids really love it. The kids are like sponges, and their passion and excitement for playing and each other is neat to see. I will really miss the staff. Most people do not see how hard teachers and the support staff work. Colfax is very fortunate to have their staff. It is full of great people who really have the best interests of our children in mind.
• What are you looking forward to doing?
I think a few things that I will do is to spend more time with my family, especially my mother. I would also like to hunt and fish more. And lastly, the third thing is to try to get this old body in better shape.
• Anything else you would like to add?
I have the utmost respect for the teaching and coaching profession. Every day is different. You get some tough days mixed in and must persevere. Colfax has a great staff and great leadership. I am thankful that they helped my wife, Tracy, and I raise our family. Coaching is great also. Tough losses end great years, and you always wonder why and shed a lot of tears. You see a lot of great kids and families go. You feel bad knowing that you could have done things a little better or different some years. Without my wife, Tracy, there is no way I could have survived without her. We were a partnership through thick or thin. She helped with concessions, raised money and never wavered in her support of our programs. The countless hours and many times wondering if the long hours and all the time and effort were worth it — and always coming to the same conclusion that yes, it was. All the youth coaches and all of the great assistants I have had. When you see how hard they work, and the time they put into it, it is much easier to keep going. Like I said, I hope to continue to be part of Colfax schools a bit longer. But in some aspects, my family needs me more, and I would like everyone to know how much I appreciate all they have done for my family and I.