Freeport’s Soilis steps down as girls hoops coach
BUFFALO TWP — For nearly two decades, Fred Soilis has put his time into the Freeport girls basketball program. From taking charge of the elementary and middle school leagues to helming the boosters and coaching the Yellowjackets’ varsity team, he had one thing in mind — stability.
After eight years in charge on Freeport’s sideline, Soilis has stepped down, citing the youngest of his three daughters graduating from the squad as his main reason. He leaves the program in much better shape than when he arrived.
“I just thought it was time to step down and give someone else a chance,” Soilis said. “I felt like I put enough time into the program to get it to the point from where we brought it ... My intent was more so to bring some consistency and stability to the program and, on top of that, be able to be with my girls and have an opportunity to coach them.
“I think I accomplished what I set out to do.”
During his tenure, Soilis coached his daughters — Zoe, who graduated in 2016; Grace, 2020; and Ava, whose senior campaign was cut short this winter with an injury.
“Overall, it was a great experience,” Soilis said of the chance to coach them. “There were tough moments. You have to treat them like they’re not your daughter when you’re coaching them, but sometimes that’s hard. Sometimes you come down a little harder on them because you know you can.
“At the same time, it was rewarding to be able to coach them and help them grow as basketball players.”
The program’s level of competitiveness is another thing that Soilis is proud of.
“Making the playoffs regularly was not something that was occurring (before my tenure),” Soilis explained. “And winning hadn’t occurred in a while. We made the playoffs every year except two — out of eight.”