High School Coaches Dilemma- Teaching now takes a back seat to winning


January 9, 2017

Neighborhood sports teams have pretty much vanished. They exist in a distant memory. High school Coaches used to know who would be coming each fall by seeing who was at the local junior high. Those days are mostly gone in the era of private coaching, open enrollment, travel ball and the endless quest to be rewarded with a trophy or scholarship.

It’s also the era of “let’s make a deal.” It’s why IMG Academy in Florida can openly recruit players from as far away as California, promising them breaks in tuition, exposure to professional coaches and access to big-time college recruiters in the name of creating successful all-star teams.

There’s a real debate under way regarding coaches who want to gauge their success by how many sports scholarships their players receive and coaches who were trained to be education-based teachers.

“This is not what I went into coaching for,” echoes many high school coaches “Back when I was 17, it was clear I had to be an educator if I wanted to coach. Therefore, I went to Concordia Teachers College in Nebraska to accomplish that goal.

“Nowadays, anybody from anywhere is allowed to coach. Coaching and assisting youngsters with their growth and development has taken a different approach, sadly for the wrong reasons.”

The good news is there are athletic directors and coaches fighting the good fight and creating islands within the system to maintain a semblance of amateurism and the teaching of values espoused by those from long ago.

At some point, a school’s leader must decide what their mission truly is. Is it based on the number of championship banners on their gym wall? Or is it based on how many alumni return each year from college or from their new life as an adult to say thanks to a teacher or coach for their positive high school experience?

If you’re a coach I want to know what you think?

Paul Dobbs



January 9, 2017