Steve Persaud worked his way up to take over the Ringgold Rams boys soccer program prior to the 2015 season.
After serving as the boys middle school coach in the district, Persaud was the varsity assistant before taking over the team.
And all he did was win three section titles, make the playoffs in all five of his seasons and send 11 players to college to continue their athletic careers while working towards degrees.
On Tuesday night, Persaud informed Ringgold Athletic Director Laura Grimm that he was stepping down as coach, and his resignation was accepted Wednesday night at the district’s school board meeting.
Persaud said the biggest reason he is stepping away is that too many of today’s kids don’t want to give the commitment that it takes to get to the next level.
“I believe that if you are going to coach at the high school level, you are making a commitment to the kids that come out that want to develop mastery at their particular sport. And as a coach, you owe it to them to develop them,” he said. “There must be a desire by the player to want to get better and that player must be willing to put in the work to get better.
“Unfortunately, there is a culture at Ringgold now where the kids don’t want to work or even learn the sport. They just want a uniform and play so they can get a letter at the end of the season.”
Persaud is tied for fourth in program history with 56 wins and was 45-9-2 in section play.
Twice he led the Rams to the second round of the playoffs.
Persaud mentioned several people who he has already reached out to or will reach out to thank, including Randy Isoha, who gave him his first coaching opportunity, former Ringgold coach Ronnie Fransko for bringing him on board at at the school, and his current staff, among many others.
Persaud did not hesitate when asked what he will miss.
“I will miss the lights and being on the sidelines,” he said. “Also, I will miss the kids and I enjoyed watching those who actually wanted to develop their skill level. I am forever indebted to the parents who busted their behinds to raise the level of this program and I will miss the camaraderie between the other coaches.
“The friendships that I have made with the coaches will last but the challenge of preparing a team that no one thinks will compete to rise up will be missed.”
Grimm spoke highly of Persaud while saying the district will look to move quickly in finding the next coach.
“I am very thankful to Coach Persaud for his commitment to Ringgold and his contributions to the boys soccer program,” she said. “During his tenure, his team set new standards for winning and in our time working together, his hard work and effort were almost unmatched.
“Moving forward, the search for a new coach will begin immediately with the hopes of hiring a new candidate in early January.”
The Rams will return five starters off a 10-9 team for the 2020 season.