FNF Coaches Talk — Fixing the Coaching Shortage in Texas, Bill Belichick Rides Coach on Planes, A Networking Platform for Coaches’ Wives

Thanks for coming back, Coach! We’ve got a few good stories for you today.

1. Texas has a coaches shortage. The state coaching association is working to change that (Corpus Christi Caller Times)

We all know we don’t get into coaching for the money. However, the unfortunate reality is that some of us DO get out of coaching for the money.

Of the 36,000 coaches in Texas public schools, 6,000 are leaving the profession each year, according to the Texas High School Coaches Association.

A growing shortage of coaches has prompted the coaches association to launch a mentoring program that will begin in March 2020 that THSCA officials hope will keep more coaches coaching instead of looking to start new careers in other professions.

“If we don’t change this trend, it could become a disaster for our profession in the end,” said Glen West, second-year assistant executive director of the THSCA and a 34-year former football coach.
West cited multiple reasons for the shortage, starting with the strong economy Texas has enjoyed for nearly the last decade.
“When the economy is good, it’s not good for coaching and teaching,” West said. “The people who do it for a long time love it, but they know they’re not going to make a ton of money. People can make a lot more money in other professions.”

Besides the economy, the biggest factor contributing to the coaching shortage is the Alternative Certification Program. The ACP allows college graduates who did not major in education and have no training in education to obtain a probationary teaching certificate and be hired as coaches and teachers. Those who choose this career path have one to two years to complete a program to earn a standard teaching certificate.

Another factor in the coaching shortage is the changed procedures with schools trying to match up coaching vacancies with teaching field vacancies.

It used to be no problem. Schools with multiple vacancies hired coaches first, then hired teachers to fill the remaining academic areas such as English, science or math. When that didn’t work, a coach could be hired and take a test to become certified in another teaching field.
State requirements have changed the procedures and made it tougher for schools to hire coaches who aren’t certified in the field in which they’ll be teaching. You can’t hire a great offensive line coach who isn’t certified in one of your teaching field vacancies.

What can be done to keep ambitious — yet underpaid — coaches in the profession?

2. Bill Belichick chose to ride coach on planes so his veteran players could fly first class (The Ringer)

Coaches walk a fine line between commanding respect and showing respect for players. The best coaches can do both.

Former Patriots defensive lineman Chris Long shared an example of this on a podcast with Ryan Russillo of The Ringer on Monday. This is fun listen every week, but this particular excerpt offers an anecdote that can only help high school coaches.

Long talks about how some coaches insist on sitting in first class on the team charter on the way home from road games. Those coaches make no friends when it comes to establishing relationships with players. Other coaches — like Bill Belichick — give up the first-class section for veteran players and squeeze into coach seats since they didn’t play in the game.

No, it’s not directly applicable to high school since we’re not flying to games. But think about when you might next have an opportunity to show your appreciation for a player by sacrificing your own comfort.

What have you done lately to show your players your appreciation for their efforts?

3. On Point Retreat offers network platform for wives of coaches, sports admins (Tallahassee Democrat)

Here’s an interesting idea for wives of coaches. We all know the in-season schedule and off-season demands of the job can be difficult to explain and/or plan around. Maybe we should follow the lead of these wives of coaches in Tallahassee and set up support groups for coaches’ wives.

The world of coaches is full of networking circles for their personal and professional development.

There’s no harm in creating a level playing field for our wives where they can communicate with women of similar family structures.

This meeting of the minds will unite while “embracing our roles” as CEO of the family business at the On Point Retreat.
This grassroots operation is headed up by Dr. Tammy Barnett, wife of Florida State defensive coordinator/defensive backs coach, Harlon Barnett.
The On Point Retreat is a three-day empowerment event for women married to a collegiate or professional coach, a pro athlete or sports administrator. It takes place Friday-Sunday at the DoubleTree by Hilton Tallahassee.

A collection of locals and out-of-town guests will be in attendance for this insightful conference.

Scheduled activities for the weekend include panel discussions, seminars, team apparel social, workout session, vendors and a silent auction.

“Three or four years ago, I realized there wasn’t a community of coach’s wives where we can come together to share intimately what we go through based on our husband’s professions,” Barnett said.
“While military wives or CEOs have similar lifestyles with traveling, the world of sports is different. Oftentimes, I find myself having to explain to people outside of sports if you win, it’s great. A losing season, not so much. The retreat is designed for a networking community.”

What support systems can you offer your family during this busy time of year for high school coaches?

What’s driving the conversation in your locker room? Email Managing Editor Dan Guttenplan or Tweet us @fnfcoaches. Don’t forget to use that hashtag #FNFCoachesTalk