Evaluation system is pivotal for coaches on all levels

Two weeks ago, I asked: Are coaches hired to be fired or rehired?

I thought it would be useful to follow-up that article with how AD’s could evaluate coaches. In 16 years of being an athletic director, 5 at a large public high school with over 1200 students and 11 years in Private School with an enrollment of over 400 students but  had more sports than the larger public school. I averaged over 60 coaches a year to evaluate. At the large school I also had to evaluate 20 plus physical education teachers at 8 elementary schools. 3  middle schools and 1 high school

We used the same evaluation method tool for coaches  as we did for the physical education teachers .

We used the following system. Each coach/teacher was given an announced evaluation date that was agreed upon by both parties. Then they received one unannounced evaluation, However, they had 1 unannounced evaluation and were told that there was a constant unannounced evaluation that was going on  in my daily dealings as an Athletic Director with the coaches and their programs..

In evaluating coaches/teachers they always knew that the evaluations were based on the mission statement of the school in relation to the school’s educational philosophy. However, it was never used as an instrument to fire or not rehire coaches/teachers, but instead to improve instruction and programs.

I would meet with the coach/teacher before the announced evaluation to set a time and date. The coaches/teachers knew what they were going to be evaluated on. They were given a multiple choice form to self-evaluate themselves on all the areas of coaching/teaching responsibilities and I filled out the same form.

After the announced evaluation and unannounced evaluations I sat down with the coaches/teachers and we went over his/her self-evaluation and compared it with mine. If we were in agreement with an evaluation statement in comparing each question we would discuss it. If we were not in agreement then it was my responsibility to come up with the written solutions and discuss them with the coach/teacher at the next evaluation meeting. If I could not give the coach/teacher the methods. techniques or solutions for improvement in the needed area(s) then I as an evaluator had no right, nor was I allowed to critique that area.

The coach/teacher and I worked together on those areas and then and only then was the evaluation tool used to either fire or not rehire a coach/teacher if improvement was not made.. The reasons being that either the coach/teacher did not have the ability to improve or the coach/teacher did not want to improve. These evaluations were done on a yearly basis.

If teachers got through the 3 year probation period then they received tenure, something that coaches in Maine do not get for stipend positions even though they do sign a coaching contract.

Parents and athletes were allowed to fill out a questionnaire similar to the one used by the coach and Athletic Director. However, the parent/athlete information was never used in the evaluation and the parents/athletes did not have to sign the form. I used their evaluations for things that I might have missed and if a certain area came up from the parents/players that I had overlooked then I kept them in mind and looked for these problems in future evaluations.

I also gave the coaches a copy of all these parent/athlete questionnaires so that they could look for areas to improve upon if there was more than enough concerns about a certain area of the coaches ability.

That is all the parents/athletes had in the evaluation and they could not use any of the “4 Cardinal Rules” that I mentioned 2 weeks ago  about…1. playing time, 2. squad selection. 3. team strategy or 4. discussing other athletes on the team.

Evaluation was the biggest part of my job as an athletic director and the most time-consuming to do it correctly and fairly.

When parents and fans at any level right through middle school thru to college evaluate coaches it usually is on a personal level in regards to their personal emotional feelings and desires for their athletes.

The major tool featured as its main objectives were life skills and life lessons being taught that could not be taught or learned in the athletes academic classrooms as that should be the main objectives of any interscholastic athletic program regardless of the level.

This system works very well. How do I know that? Because my coaches improved and I never had to fire or not rehire anyone in my 16 years as an athletic director. Nor did any of the physical education teachers not receive tenure.

It is interesting that there is required MPA certification for coaches, but not for athletic administrators. How can some AD’s do a good job evaluating coaches unless they have been trained on how to do so.

Especially in the area of discovering weakness and giving them the instruments and methods needed to improve in the areas that need  improvement.

Again, the key to evaluation is for improvement, not to fire or not rehire coaches. The only time it should be used to not rehire or fire a coach is if the coach does not make enough improvement in the areas that they need to in the required  time frame.

.If you would like to suggest a topic for this column please e-mail it to mrp17@roadrunner.com. Check out more basketball topics on this blog.