WNY Athletics

The Final Chapter

The longest tenured coach in the Kenmore West boys soccer program, Todd Marquardt, has coached his final game. Marquardt revealed to his team earlier this week that this was his final season, and Wednesday night he was recognized by the crowd during his final game.

“All good things come to an end,” said Marquardt, who is eligible to retire after teaching 30 years in Kenmore as an elementary physical education teacher. “I knew once I was done teaching, I’d be done coaching, so now that I have that on the table, I wanted to make [the decision to stop coaching] first.”

Marquardt was the fifth coach in Kenmore West program history, after founder Jim Mesler, Joe Sutton, Jeff Rickan and Rudy Bersani. Marquardt took over the program in the 1990 season. In his 31 years as coach, Marquardt’s career record rests at 242-277-42 after a 6-8-1 final season.

But after 31 years as the coach and a program high 242 career wins, it’s a different number that holds more significance to Marquardt.

In his time at Kenmore West, Marquardt has coached 389 players. Among them are three players who are the son of another former player. Even more than a Sectional title as a player at Kenmore West in 1980 or either of the two Sectional titles as a coach — in 1994 and 2006 — it’s the bonds he’s formed with those 389 players that means the most to Marquardt.

“The relationships trump everything for me. These people become members of society and I have relationships with tons of them,” said Marquardt. 

His impact was not just felt at Kenmore West, as Marquardt is also the chairman of Section VI boys soccer. His position on the board gave him even more appreciation for the opportunity to be able to have a season this fall through the pandemic.

“It was exciting [to be able to play]. My whole focus was to give them a somewhat normal season,” said Marquardt. “I wanted them to appreciate that we were able to play.”

Then once his team successfully navigated the season, he told his team this would be the end of his time as coach.

“It all hit me at the final game,” Marquardt described. He said he was unaware that the decision would be announced to the crowd in attendance, but turned to his assistant coach Joe Bennett — a former player of his — and hugged him as the crowd cheered.

“I did not want to make this season about me. It’s not about me, it’s about the kids I coach,” said Marquardt. “Every day I was out there I thought about it, but I kept to myself.”

Marquardt’s dedication to his players is exemplified perfectly by the booklets he puts together each year, summarizing every game and all the key moments of the season, which he hands out at the annual season-ending banquet. He hopes his former players will look back at those booklets and remember some of the great memories they have all shared together.

“I wish I could give thanks to all the players and families I’ve worked with for the commitments they’ve given over all these years,” Marquardt said. “It really has meant a lot.”

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