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An Illinois newspaper wonders if high school coaches should receive tenure


In an effort to bring attention to high school coaches in Illinois, the News-Gazette in Champaign titled a recent article "Is coaching worth trouble?" The piece goes on to ask if a tenured path, similar to that of teachers, is worth pursuing for prep athletic coaches.

The author of the piece, Fred Kroner, points out that during his research one coach shared with him the idea that there are three different types of coaches: the ones who will resign before being fired, the ones who have been fired, and the ones who haven't been fired yet.

Pretty early on in the article Kroner that "at first glance, it seems reasonable that a system could be put in place to provide security for coaches who have received favorable reviews for a given period. It doesn’t have to be the four-year standard that teachers face to earn tenure. Make it tougher. Five years. Seven years. That point can be debated. Length of time is not really the issue."

One of the points that Kromer goes on to make is that any head coach that has held his post for a year or more has built up a group of naysayers. We've all seen what happens next: that group will look to attach itself to other parents, or administrators, or some of your assistant coaches, and before you know it - regardless of your win-loss record or whether you've done anything wrong or not - you're entrenched in a political battle of sorts to protect your job. For that reason, some coaches and administrators want decision makers to consider giving tenure to high school coaches.

But is giving out tenure to coaches who simply put X-amount of years in really the right thing to do? Who's best interest does that really have in mind? The kids, or the head coach?

Throughout the piece, many different points of view on the subject are explored, and some Illinois coaches believe that while a tenure track isn't necessarily the answer, many agree that a consistent, formal evaluation process from athletic directors should be instituted instead.

While it may be unpopular, no part of me believes that tenuring high school coaches is the right thing to do. I do believe that a consistent and formal evaluation done by the athletic director, and thoroughly reviewed with each head coach is a no-brainer. It seems like something simple enough to do, but as full-time high school athletic director positions are being cut, or downgraded to part-time status', evaluations of head coaches are something that are becoming more an afterthought.

Read the full piece here, it's well worth it.