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Ideas for hiring coaches compiled

September 21, 2009|By DAN DEARTH

BEAVER CREEK -- A private organization that formed last year to improve the quality of coaches in Washington County Public Schools will take a list of proposals to school officials later this month.

Five members of Better Sports Now met Monday at Beaver Creek Country Club to come up with ideas for improving the way coaches are hired by the school system. Washington County Commissioner Kristin B. Aleshire also attended.

Jackie Brewer, spokeswoman for Better Sports Now, said she plans to take the ideas from Monday's meeting to school officials Sept. 30, when about 10 representatives of the group plan to meet with school officials.

According to the hiring guidelines, "teachers or certificated professional educator employees" have the first opportunity to vie for coaching positions. If the job cannot be filled internally, administrators are permitted to hire someone who isn't employed by the school system.

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Brewer said Better Sports Now wants administrators to hire the best-qualified coaches, regardless of their place of employment.

In at least one case, a coach with no experience is coaching a major sport at one of the high schools in Washington County, Brewer said. She declined to name the sport or school.

"We, as citizens, have the right to recommend change," she said. "Why are we not hiring the best-qualified (coaches)? If they don't have that experience, why are they being hired?"

One of the organization's proposals was to create an evaluation system in which student-athletes and parents would have the opportunity to critique coaches at the end of a sporting season. Some of the organization's members said the evaluations would give coaches an opportunity to learn from their mistakes.

Aleshire recommended that Better Sports Now should try to determine whether the existing teachers' contract would prohibit changes from being made.

"If it is prohibited by a union contract ... that is a paramount hurdle," he said.

Aleshire said another goal should be to convince school officials to clarify ambiguous language in the existing hiring policy.

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