Doug Soles, who has guided the Great Oak cross country and track and field programs to multiple Southern Section and CIF-State titles, said he will resign from the program at the end of the cross country season.
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This article has been updated.
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Doug Soles, who guided the Great Oak cross country and track program since the school's opening in 2004, will leave at the end of the current cross country season, he said Saturday.
The Soles-led cross country program has been one of the nation's elites in recent years, accounting for 15 CIF-Southern Section titles, 14 CIF-State titles and one Team National title.
Daniel Noble, who has coached with Soles from the beginning, said he will also resign.
"We will finish this cross country season then move on," Soles, 45, wrote in a text exchange. "We aren't being fired, forced out, or anything like that. The district and admin fully supports us, but my family no longer wants to live in California. We will move somewhere that is a better fit for our family, and somewhere that we can all feel safe again."
Both coaches reached Saturday expressed frustration with recent social media posts, including one that included photos of Soles' family, as well as a complaint by a former part-time assistant coach, and another by a parent group citing discrimination, both that are being handled at the district level, rather than at Great Oak High School.
Soles called it a "cancel culture to get rid of me" but reiterated that "it is purely my decision" to leave.
"As a witness to what transpired and how Doug was treated, I'm not in favor of that at all," said Noble, a teacher in the district for 20 years, the last 17 at Great Oak. "If I were to stay on and coach, how am I to believe I would not be treated the same way."
In the 2019 cross country season, the most recent season before the pandemic forced the shutdown of high school sports, Great Oak claimed two team titles at the CIF-Southern Section Championships, providing the Wolfpack program with his 14th and 15th section titles.
At Team Nationals, Great Oak has had six podium finishes, two second-place finishes, and a third for the girls, and two runner-up finishes and a title in 2015 for the boys.
On the track, Great Oak has been a perennial section challenger with five combined titles and four runner-up finishes, in addition to two State Meet runner-up finishes for the boys in 2016 and 2018 -- both times placing second behind teams in their own Southwestern League, Vista Murrieta and Murrieta Mesa, respectively.
The Great Oak program has had more than 100 athletes receive college scholarships, Noble confirmed.
Soles said he told his team on Friday, a day after the Wolfpack's first winter cross country meet following a 10-month shutdown of CIF sports in the state. He reiterated that this has been building for a while and that "the last couple classes all felt I was going to leave for a college job.
"My wife and I have been close to moving out of California for a long time," Soles wrote.
"Going to focus on my own kids now and look for new adventures."
Soles has three children, in grades eight, seven and four.
"I don't know if I'll continue coaching," he said. "I've been going 110% since 2007. I might just sit in the stands and watch my son play football."
At a recent practice, Noble said "I stepped up and tried to say something, I just broke down. I got choked up. That's the pain, for these kids, I feel.
"It's a mess. My heart's broken. ... You always want to leave on your own terms. Not for Doug. Not for me. I'm collateral damage. The kids are collateral damage."