Dick Gallagher's Commentary: Coaches Calling It Quits

An interesting trend is taking place in high school sports. Namely, that in prior decades, coaches would remain in the profession for 25 to 30 years with many at one school. Today, however, that trend has reversed itself. For example, this season in WNY high school football, fifty percent of the coaches have been head coaches less than five years. Long term head coaches are becoming a dinosaur and one of the many reasons is the hostile environment brought on by dissatisfaction of parents and players. In fact today too often parents want to control the asylum.

Frequently parents complain about their sons playing time, communicate with members of the school board and if the latter isn’t strong the next thing you notice is the criticism is in the media and there are attempts to have coaches fired. Examples locally are Al Monaco, Williamsville South and Mike Trbyzinski, Williamsville East, losing their coaching positions due to unhappy and out of control parents. Rather than backing the coaches, the district administration terminated the coaches.

There are many demands of a head coach such as planning practices, watching film, running websites, connecting with booster clubs. Commitments for both on and off field activities, paperwork, meetings, dealing with parents, unappreciated kids and pressure to get a player a scholarship. When you also factor they pay they receive, which is usually only a few thousand dollars, you can’t blame some coaches resigning to spend more time with their families and leaving the soap operas of high school sports. Consider Texas where football is a passion, tradition and in some communities a religion. The highest paid high school football coach is &132,000 annually with the lowest at $70,000. In fact 14 coaches earn more than $100,000 and many of these coaches do not teach, but we know New York treats football as a game and many cases like playing only 8-10 games a season whereas in many parts of the country teams play 14 to 16 games. It is unfortunate to see many coaches leave but who can blame them.

What is needed are administrators who are strong and will back their coaches. In addition, schools need to adopt policies outlining what behavior is acceptable by parents and schools also need to implement training sessions for all parents attending athletic events.

 

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