February 04, 2023

Bolton to pursue new opportunity

On Dec. 31, Randy Bolton will hang up his whistle as Clarke’s athletic director in pursuit of a new career opportunity through Fundraising University and teaching mental performance.

Arrival at Clarke

In 1986, Bolton graduated from high school in Nebraska, and attended college at Midland in Fremont, Nebraska.

He spent the first four years of his post-college career teaching and coaching in Nebraska before he and his wife moved to southwest Iowa, where they both taught and coached for another four years. In 1998, the couple moved to Osceola with the notion that it would be another four years before they moved again, but four years turned into 24.

Bolton first seven years at Clarke were spent teaching U.S. history, economics and global studies, with four of those years as the head girls basketball coach, plus a stint as the head track coach.

In an administrative move from teaching, Bolton became Clarke’s activities/athletic director which he did for four years before moving to the elementary school to take on the assistant principal position, a role that worked better with familial commitments. In 2019, Bolton came back to the high school to again wear the AD hat.

“I was ready for a change,” said Bolton of his return to AD; he also wanted to help out with activities that his daughter was in.

As AD, Bolton doesn’t just oversee coaches and staff related to athletic programs. He helps set up and tear down events, often working long hours to help out with different sporting, fine arts, and other extracurricular events. He works on the sports schedules, all done at least a year in advance. He drives buses to and from events, and in the instance of coaching shortages steps up to help out. This year, for example, the 8th grade girls basketball team was short a coach, so Bolton stepped up to fill the position.

Now, after two and a half years back as AD, Bolton will retire at the end of December to pursue a new career; he will return in January to help finish out the 8th grade basketball season.

New career venture

Over the past three to four years, Bolton has become certified in mental performance, which addresses the psychology of sports performance beyond the physical aspects. In working on his certification, Bolton met Brian Cain, a mental performance coach and vice-president of marketing for Fundraising University, a company that works with teams and coaches to run more effective fundraisers. Bolton looked into Fundraising University, thinking that it was something he would pursue in another two and a half years when he reached his regular retirement.

About three months ago, however, a situation presented itself where Bolton was able to purchase a franchise in the company that will cover this territory in Iowa. Bolton describes the change as a new kind of challenge, and one that he is excited for.

“I feel this came to me at the right time…[it] created a passion and a burning desire to help people, teams, schools in a different capacity,” said Bolton.

The fundraising done through Fundraising University promotes teamwork by bonding, building, and creating the excitement for the task at hand, which Bolton said will be benefitted by the relationships he has formed with coaches and athletic directors in this area. He knows them, and knows what needs will need to be met.

In addition to fundraising, Bolton has also been given the opportunity through Cain to work with coaches in the area of mental performance. Bolton will run his own mental performance course, Chasing Potential, through which he will work with coaches and teams on the mental aspects of sports, with a program comprised of eight pillars - elite mindset, motivation and commitment, focus and awareness, self control and discipline, process over outcome, meditation and mental imagery, routines and habits of excellence, and time management and organization.

“It gives people the strategies to help improve on those [areas],” said Bolton.

Many of those elements are ones that Bolton has been doing at Clarke over the years, but he credits Cain and the eight specific pillars for really laying out the framework for effective implementation.

“Mental performance is like what weight lifting was 30 years ago - the people who did it had a distinct advantage,” said Bolton.

For the last couple of years, Bolton has worked on helping the coaches at Clarke see the benefits to working out the mental aspects of the sports, and it is something that he hopes sticks around long after he is gone.

“I hope I’ve created a foundation…something people see a benefit from and that’s just what we do at Clarke,” said Bolton.

‘The relationships’

When it comes to what Bolton will miss the most about being at Clarke, as well as what he’s most proud of, he said simply,

“The relationships.”

For Bolton, the relationships that he has formed with coworkers, coaches, athletes, students, fellow ADs, bus drivers near and far, parents, and other members of the community have made the job worthwhile.

“Being a teacher and an administrator the first time, helping shape some of those kids, [it’s] given me a wide range of experiences…I had a lot of opportunities to create different types of relationships,” said Bolton, who will also miss organizing and managing events.

With Fundraising University, Bolton will get to continue on with those relationships that he’s formed, and continue to help coaches and athletes. He also hopes to write a book and create his own curriculum one day, taking the components of mental performance and parts of other character building systems to create a “gigantic, awesome” program that incorporates them all together.

“My role in life is to help other people…I think I can help out thousands and thousands of people in the new roles I’m going to be in. The sky’s the limit, there’s no cap on it. Who knows what I can do and what difference I can make. [I’m] excited for the challenges and the change,” said Bolton.

Interim ADs

Lonnie Smith and Anthony Battani will be interim co-athletic directors as Clarke searches for Bolton’s replacement.

Candra Brooks

A native of rural Union County, Candra holds a Bachelor's Degree in English from Simpson College and an Associate's Degree in Accounting from SWCC. She has been at the Osceola newspaper since October 2013, working as office manager before transitioning to the newsroom in spring 2022.