Above, cheerleaders perform at a football game last fall. The team is now working with their third coach this year. In order to increase retention of coaches, RJUHSD formed an Athletics Ad Hoc Committee.

(CAM MEDRANO / EYE OF THE TIGER)

Committee forms to address coaching concerns

April 9, 2019

Last year, the varsity cheer coach was charged with a DUI while driving with a student in the vehicle during a competition. The year before, the former boys volleyball coach was charged with child molestation.

Both were off-campus coaches and working in positions that are traditionally difficult to fill due to lack viable applicants.

Recognizing a disconnect between district administrators and coaching staff, RJUHSD Board of Trustees members Scott Huber and Andrew Tagg partnered with executive director of personnel services John Becker to establish a committee that would work to identify key concerns in regards to students’ athletic experience in the district.

“Athletics is all about students,” Huber said. “We want to help students develop athletic skills, while also instilling values like honor, integrity and developing the whole athlete. In this instance, the best way to make improvements is to get a group of experts together and brainstorm for issues and how to solve them.”

With the formation of the Athletics Ad Hoc Committee, Becker proceeded to meet with site administrators and athletic directors to determine potential goals the board could tackle. Last year, the varsity cheer coach was charged with a DUI while driving with a student in the vehicle during a competition. The year before, the former boys volleyball coach was charged with child molestation.

Both were off-campus coaches and working in positions that are traditionally difficult to fill due to lack viable applicants.

Recognizing a disconnect between district administrators and coaching staff, RJUHSD Board of Trustees members Scott Huber and Andrew Tagg partnered with executive director of personnel services John Becker to establish a committee that would work to identify key concerns in regards to students’ athletic experience in the district.

“Athletics is all about students,” Huber said. “We want to help students develop athletic skills, while also instilling values like honor, integrity and developing the whole athlete. In this instance, the best way to make improvements is to get a group of experts together and brainstorm for issues and how to solve them.”

With the formation of the Athletics Ad Hoc Committee, Becker proceeded to meet with site administrators and athletic directors to determine potential goals the board could tackle.

 

 

Hiring and Retention

(JORDAN DEL VALLE TONOIAN / EYE OF THE TIGER)
RJUHSD Board of Trustees members Scott Huber (far left) and Andrew Tagg (far right) raised concerns regarding athletics and how to address the disconnect between administrators and coaching staff. With the formation of the Athletic Ad Hoc Committee, the district hopes more coaches will pursue and stay in RJUHSD positions.

This year, Roseville leads the district in new coaches hired with over 30 new coaches employed for various programs. When it comes to ensuring prospective coaches come into the job with experience and ability, Becker finds that certain sports are met with difficulty finding applicants. In turn, the district may “settle” for options present simply because it is the only option.
“It’s just hard to replace. We just try to do our best to find what we can,” Becker said. “It really is a challenge to find people.”

According to Becker, this trend is prevalent in lower level sports. This year, RHS’ JV boys volleyball team finds themselves without an official head coach, leaving athletic director Emily Dodds and teacher Josh Errecart to take on practices, while varsity coach Cole Williams leads the team in games.

“It’s tough on the player because they like to build chemistry with a good coach. When you have someone else you have got to try and build that same relationship,” JV boys volleyball player Nick Primavera said. “I think that’s tricky.”

A major source of concern for both administrators and athletes alike are the fluctuations in coaching staff. Within the last five years, the boys varsity volleyball team had four different head coaches. Likewise, the cheer program has featured four coaches in the last four seasons. These concerns are not limited to the aforementioned – programs such as the girls varsity tennis and dance team have been subject to a lack of retention of coaches.

While the vetting process to recruit and hire coaches may require background checks and certification classes, the process does not offer an trial-run period to understand the coach’s style of play. Becker attributes the lack of evaluation of coaching style to be a key concern for players and faculty. For varsity cheerleader Rebekah Jenness-Hobbs, her experience with a variety of coaches typically results in the team’s reluctance to adapt to various coaching styles. The general lack of assessment for one’s coaching style prior to their hire may often times result in player-coach disparities in attitude, methodology and level of play.

“Anytime a new coach comes in we usually have a pretty rocky season,” Jenness-Hobbs said. “It’s hard because people get attached to the certain coaching styles and a certain ways of doing things.”

In order to combat the trend of staffing instability, the district began looking into ways to incentivize coaching. Last year, the district increased the stipend for coaches. Now, the committee hopes to propose more ways to encourage coaches to stay and increase retention. According to Becker, the extensive time spent during both league play and the off-season make it difficult to keep coaches around for many seasons.

“If we could make it worth their while financially, I think they would stay longer,” Becker said.

 

 

Off vs. on campus

As of the beginning of this year, RJUHSD employed over 550 coaches with 80 of them serving as on-campus coaches. At RHS alone, the 101 person coaching staff features 81 off-campus coaches. When developing a coaching staff, administrators often look to hire employees that already have a role at that specific site. Becker attributes to this search to a sense of continuity in hopes on-campus coaches will work to reflect the ideals of the school they represent.

“On-campus coaches possess a deeper understanding of school policies and procedures,” Becker said. “ There’s increased communication within the school community, increased tenure in position and [school pride].”

Meanwhile, the RHS girls basketball program features an off-campus head coach for all three levels of play.

Varsity coach Allan Darte assumed his position at the end of September and found that schedules had already been established and that his lack of all-day presence on campus posed the threat of a communication barrier.

Through team message chats, Darte looked to overcome any difficulties that came with his being an off-campus coach.

But, when the season began, Darte recognized that his lack of presence on campus hindered his and the team’s ability to promote games and increase attendance.

“[With] off-campus coaches…it’s a struggle [but] they do make they do make the extra effort,” Darte said.

 

 

Future, funding

As for the future of athletics in RJUHSD, any changes the Athletic Ad Hoc committee propose are still subject to approval by the district board and may face extended periods of time before they are put into effect.

“We are committed to constant improvement,” RJUHSD board member Scott Huber said. “No matter what we do today, there are always improvements to be made tomorrow.”

About the Writer
CAM MEDRANO, EDITOR IN CHIEF

This is my third year involved with journalism at RHS and my second year working for Eye of the Tiger.

As editor-in-chief, I’ve never experienced anything more gratifying in my high school career than seeing others appreciate the work I’ve helped produce in this program.

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