After a record-setting 16 years, Matt Soto has stepped down as field hockey coach at Penn Manor High School.
Penn Manor athletic director Stephen Kramer acknowledged the news Wednesday. An ad in search of a new coach has been posted on the field hockey program’s website.
“It came out of the blue,’’ Kramer said. “It was entirely his choice. He just told us he was moving on.’’
Soto, 61, began his teaching and coaching career at Middleburg High School in Snyder County 36 years ago. He moved to Penn Manor in 2005.
The Comets’ win over Manheim Township on Oct. 20 was Soto’s 700th career coaching win, a milestone reached by only six other high school field hockey coaches in American history.
Penn Manor has won 14 straight Lancaster-Lebanon League section championships. The Comets have also won three District Three championships, state championships in 2008, 2014 (co-champions with Palmyra) and 2017, and reached the state final three other times.
The 2017 Comets were the top-ranked high school team in the country. Soto also won a state title at Middleburg in 1995. He has coached numerous all-Americans and major college players.
Jill Funk (nee Witmer), an All-American at Penn Manor and at the University of Maryland, is a former member of the U.S. National team who played in the 2016 Olympics.
Soto is retired from teaching, but he has held a full-time position as the director of athletic operations at Spooky Nook Sports Complex.
“We’ve already started the process,’’ Kramer said of finding Soto’s successor. “We’re confident that the program will continue to be successful.’’
Attempts to reach Soto were unsuccessful.