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A Coaching Crisis: Young athletic coaches are leaving the industry statewide

“We don’t want them to get frustrated, We want to invest in them.”
Published: Dec. 12, 2021 at 9:27 PM CST
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - According to The Texas High School Coaches Association, 20 percent of young coaches leave the industry in their first five years. To help, address this problem the Texas High School Coaches Association has created the ROCK mentoring program, which utilizes local resources and veteran coaches to help shape these young coaches.

Glen West is the Assitant Executive Director of the Texas High School Coaches Association. Prior to his current position, he was the Athletic Director and Head Football Coach at Brenham ISD. He tells KBTX’s Fallon Appleton that he experienced the coaching turnover first hand.

“It was happening at a large rate and at times I felt helpless on how we could save them,” said West. “We always felt like if we could just get them through the first year or the second year then they would be able to stay in the profession.”

Texas is one of the few states to require coaches to be full-time staff of the school district, which West believes is a benefit.

However, how these coaches are getting certified to teach is one of the main causes for their reason for leaving, according to Joe Martin, the Executive Director of Texas High School Coaches Association.

“The [TEA’s] alternative certification process is a quicker way to get there, but once they get to the point where they can enter the classroom and start teaching and coaching, then they get overwhelmed,” said Martin.

In the past, many coaches would go through student teaching before obtaining their certificate, which avoided this issue, according to West.

“Now in most universities, almost all of our teachers and coaches don’t go through student teaching,” said West.

So to keep these coaches head in the game and to help address this problem, The Texas High School Coaches Association developed the ROCK Mentoring Program.

The program focuses on cultivating and pairing young coaches from all sports with a mentor, who is an experienced coach in their perspective sport.

Someone like former Bryan High Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Marty Criswell.

“We don’t want them to get frustrated,” said Criswell. “We want to invest in them.”

And helping with this investment is the Texas A&M Thornton-McFerrin Coaching Academy. They have provided the curriculum that the program is based on.

John Thornton, Director of the Texas A&M Thornton-McFerrin Coaching Academy, says their goal is to provide these coaches the tools they need to succeed.

“You can do what you can do as far as gaining experience for yourself, but there is more to it than that, and that’s what we think through at The Coaching Academy and the programming that we do,” said Thorton. “We can enhance their ability to handle all the stresses and trials and tribulations of being a great coach and a great teacher.”

With the help of this curriculum and experienced coaches throughout the state, those involved in the ROCK, like Criswell, believe they can help bridge the gap with these young coaches.

“There is just so many great young people out there, and we need to invest in them and get some leaders in the pipeline for the future. All the mentors, we’ve got a lot more coaching behind us than we do in front of us. If we can help them get off to a great start then they can really make a difference throughout their career and the lives of kids.”

Marty Criswell, The ROCK Mentoring Program Mentor

The Texas High School Coaches Association is looking for more veteran coaches to get involved with the mentoring program.

Young coaches who would like to get involved with the program can learn more here.

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