Why Are The Schools' Bean Counters Picking On Coaches?


November 06, 1991|By Pat O'Malley

Sitting here playing with my computer and getting into another edition of "Q's and A's," a few unpleasant thoughts started whirling in myhead. One big question fueled those thoughts, and I would be interested to know what you think.

To respond, give me a call on the 24-Hour Sportsline, 647-2499.

* Here's the "Q" that's got me down: Do you get the feeling that administrative types want to do everything they can to discourage people from coaching?

A lot of things have been going on that have got to get even the most enthusiastic coach down in the dumps.

Decision-makers have talked about cutting coaches' salaries, wanting coaches to volunteer their time and cutting team transportation to games.

Then there are the proposals to eliminate the one-credit graduation requirement for high school physical education, which would lead tofew in-house physical education teachers and coaches, and to preventcoaches from coaching out of season.

What's a coach to think as the big wheels keep making rules and regulations that take all the funout of coaching?

The State Board of Education is considering a proposal to allow high school students to meet their physical educationrequirement through teams and outside activities.

If it came about, high schools wouldn't need to be staffed with phys-ed teachers, and many coaches no longer would be in the schools where they coach.

Well, did you hear that the State Board of Education received more than 700 letters, many from Anne Arundel, in support of keeping physical education as is?

Betty Reid, state physical education specialist, said the board is expected to put the proposal on hold for now.

"A two-day state board meeting will be held in late November, and they are not expected to discuss the proposal at that time and probablywon't until at least December," Reid said.

"After the public hearing, the state decided they have to study the proposal further, and I'm not certain what will happen, but I will tell you that not one negative thing was said about the physical education program at that hearing."

Reid said the Anne Arundel County delegation was impressiveat the hearing.

"Bernie Walter (department chairman of physical education and athletic director at Arundel High) did a marvelous presentation in support of physical education and showed a videotape of his program that had been used nationally," Reid said.

"We got a terrific letter response from Anne Arundel County, and also your county student council impressed everyone with their presentation. There wasa very strong feeling at that hearing to keep the requirement for atleast one credit."

On the proposal to disallow high school coaches to coach their athletes out of season, did you know that Baltimore Orioles scouting supervisor Jim Gilbert wants to speak at the Dec. 7 Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association meeting at theGreenbelt Marriott?

"I would like to tell them that we need more high school coaches running summer baseball programs because things aren't as good out there as they once were," Gilbert said. "To tell them they can't coach would be a big mistake in my sport."

Think about this one, sports fans. If that absurd proposal to prevent high school coaches from coaching their athletes out of season goes through, will principals and administrators, such as North County principal William Wentworth, who coaches the Glen Burnie Patriots 16-and-under team during the summer, be allowed to coach their students?

Do we want to help students, or do we make rules to hinder them and promote mediocrity?

Didn't an anonymous caller to the 24-Hour Sportsline last week make a good point in support of high school sports and extracurricular activities?

"Being an ex-high school student-athlete, I can honestly say that I wasn't a very good student until I played sports," said the caller.

"The only reason I graduated was because I had to have the grades to be eligible to play sports. I think there are a lot of kids like that out there."

Have you heard how Nevada handled its financial problems for high school sports?

The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association has sought corporate sponsors to support its athletic program. Pizza Hut donated $195,000 as the first corporate sponsor.

It marked the first time in the history of Nevada that a business provided money for interscholastic athletics.

Will Maryland go that route eventually?

What do you think of this idea from John Smith of Meade High to save money during the budget crisis: "Why not close the Board of Education for the entire month ofJuly and save $5 million?"

* What's going on with the Hayse Henderson-coached Meade football team missing 12 to 14 players when it lost, 14-7, to Broadneck last week?

* How about a fine round of applause for the Vince DePasquale-coached St. Mary's High junior varsity football team (7-2-1) that won the Maryland Scholastic Association C Conference championship last week with a 25-14 victory over archrival Severn School?

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