In the December meeting of the school board there were a number of football players there in support of their football coach Jim Jones. Jones has been the football coach for a number of years. He took three years off to rest and now has been back coaching the last couple of years.
These football players are due to lose their coach from an unwritten policy that coaches cannot be administrators, or administrators can't be coaches. Coach Jones became the principal at Canyon View Junior High beginning with the current school year. Canyon View is a small junior high school. This past football season, Coach Jones only missed eight hours of school due to football.
Football has a shorter season than most sports and with only one game a week. Practices take place in the summer and after school. Coach Jones has had a very supportive coaching staff. They take care of the junior varsity and sophomore games. On game days the assistant coaches ride on the bus with the team members and Coach Jones drives the equipment trailer, so he doesn't have to leave as early.
Canyon View is a school of less than 190 students. Each of these students are important and their academic education is very important. I think you can take care of a school and take care of a football team, too. I would much prefer a principal who has the ability to interact with students.Seeing a coach on a football field makes the coach very human. I would rather see a principal out coaching than sitting in an office somewhere waiting to retire.
Sometimes when teachers move from the classroom to the administrative office, they lose touch with students. I guess I can say this as I have had five students move through the Emery School District and have seen a lot in my many years of having students and working with teachers.
I don't think it hurts a thing to allow Coach Jones to continue to coach. The most prevalent thing we heard that night was if Coach Jones is allowed to continue to coach then where does it end. This would set some kind of precedence, if he is allowed to coach. It doesn't make sense to me, to take a coach with his years of experience and bench him, just because he is now in charge of a tiny school. It would make more sense if he was the principal of a large high school with thousands of students, but get real, this is a small junior high in Emery County.
I would think if there isn't a policy anywhere that says you can't coach and be an administrator, then there needs to be a clearly written and spelled out policy. There was a vice-principal at the high school who coached high school softball. Why was that OK?
It seems a little crazy that the last few people who have been through the administrative endorsement process are also coaches. One of them took the girls basketball program and led them to two state championship games in as many years and things look good this year, too. This same man was just recently named the Emery baseball coach and his assistant is also one of those future administrators. But, under the current system, these coaches will likewise be benched, if they seek a higher administrative position at a school. Granted, basketball takes you away from a school, more than football does and the season is longer.
So, that's why I think we need a clear written policy. It can't be just a verbal agreement. Why are we training coaches, just so we can lose them when they become principals in future years.
So I think we need some rules and guidelines. There are rules and guidelines pertaining to everything else. Why not this. When Coach Jones was being interviewed and considered for the principal at Canyon View, it was explained to him, that he would have to give up coaching baseball for 2009 and could finish the 2008 football season, but could not coach after that. That sounded OK at the time, but now as the reality has set in, and the possibility of not being able to coach arises, then Coach Jones wonders why also. He was able to fulfill his duties as a principal and his duties as a coach and neither of which suffered. His ability to coach and his experience with the kids and bringing out the best in his players is something that we as a county and school district, should not want to lose.
Why are we training our coaches to be administrators just to lose them as coaches. I think administrators and coaches are important, but I think there can be a balance and some reason involved in the selection process. If a coach cannot, absolutely cannot coach then it should be written in stone, it shouldn't be something hypothetical out there, that can be ignored or enacted when convenient. If it is entirely impossible and unworkable, then say so, get it in writing. Don't let these students suffer because they don't know who their coach is going to be and they don't understand all the mumbo jumbo involved.