In years past, a teacher's job description may have had coach or assistant coach attached to it. In today's economy with endless budget cuts the trend seems to be shifting toward more non-staff coaching positions to fill the void.
"The way the trend is going statewide I wouldn't be surprised if eventually all coaching positions became non staff," said Joseph Athletic Director Rhonda Shirley."The reason it's changing is due to the cut backs in financing.We're not hiring the younger teachers and most of our teachers have been around for 20-plus years. If they were coaches they've done their coaching and moved on now," she added.
At present Joseph has three staff and 18 non staff coaching positions filled over the school year.Wallowa has a split of six staff and six non-staff positions and Enterprise has nine staff and five non staff positions .
According to Shirley, Joseph has most of the sports covered with a staff coach involved. Basketball in the winter is the one that the Eagles don't have any staff working as a coach so communication becomes more important with that sport. "I'm communicating with them all the time so we know what's going on," Shirley said.
Enterprise Athletic Director Mike Crawford said that Troy Farwell holds the only non staff head coaching position at EHS, and that is in wrestling. "The head coaching position is really the critical one ," Crawford said. " If you are a non staff coach you don't get the interaction with the kids academically and that's what school is all about."
Wallowa Athletic Director Warren Wilson said that there are all kinds of factors involved as to whether or not the trend is favorable. " It's a good thing if the non staff coaches are focused on the fact that we are an academic instruction first," Wilson said. "Some non staff coaches are just out for themselves," he added.
"There's good points and bad points," said Joseph Head Football Coach Rusty Eschler. According to Eschler (a non staff coach), since he doesn't see the athletes during class time he doesn't come to practice upset with a student because they have been messing around in class.
"The bad part is that you come to practice not knowing anything, so sometimes you get caught unaware of events that may have taken place during school," he said.
The Joseph coach said that he hasn't had any problems at Joseph, but when he coached at Stevenson, Wash. there were times of a lack of communication. "Overall here the communication has been very, very good; plus the kids that participate in athletics country wide here are good kids. That makes a big difference," he said
When schools open up the application process they advertise, take in applications and do interviews. Applicants go through a criminal history check and are fingerprinted by the state before they are hired. If someone has not had a criminal background check he or she cannot be left unsupervised with kids.
Before a prospective coach can be certified the Oregon State Athletic Association requires that all candidates in the state complete and pass the American Sports Education Program (ASEP) Coaching Principles Class.
Since 1990, this program has been accepted and utilized, in total or in part, by 34 states. Nationwide, over 200,000 coaches have been trained by over 2,700 ASEP instructors. Also, ASEP has continued to take an active role with the National Federation of High Schools in advocating the development of interscholastic coaching requirements in the United States.
The eight hour course consists of the essential principles of being a coach including coaching philosophy and basic communication and motivation techniques, principles of safety, conditioning and injury treatment, guidelines for practice and game planning and how to teach sports skills.
"They will put you in different hypothetical situations and show you how to handle them.,"said JHS Football Coach Rusty Eschler.