Association Seeks to Address Coaching Shortage

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The Texas High School Coaches Association has announced plans to launch a mentoring program in March of 2020 with the aim of keeping more coaches on the sidelines. 

According to the Corpus Christi Caller Times, 6,000 public high school football coaches in the state leave the profession each year. 

“If we don’t change this trend, it could become a disaster for our profession in the end,” THSCA assistant executive director Glen West told the Caller Times.

Among the reasons for the departures is a strong economy, which affords coaches more lucrative opportunities outside of teaching and coaching. Another important problem, however, is the Alternative Certification Program, which allows college graduates without training as educators to obtain a probationary teaching certificate.

“You have people who don’t have any idea what a lesson plan is, and they didn’t get any hands-on experience with student teaching,” Sundown athletic director and football coach Adam Cummings told the Caller Times. “Their hands-on training starts when they start their first day as a teacher.”

The Alternative Certification Program, or ACP, allows prospective teachers and coaches a chance to join the work force faster, according to West, but there are drawbacks.

“But it’s like getting a credit card. You have to pay later,” he said. “These coaches are hit with the rigors of teaching and coaching and trying to work on their certification, and they throw up their hands.”

Many coaches in the state quit within their first year or two, but the mentorship program is aimed at stemming that turnover. 20 coaches early in their careers will be mentored by longtime superintendents, ADs and coaches for a year, with the aim of backfilling for a lack of student teaching experience. 

“Once they get the program implemented, it should be huge for coaches,” Cummings said.

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