Dr. David Hoch, CMAA
After losing his starting position, former University of North Carolina guard Larry Drew II asked to transfer from the school. What can we learn as athletic administrators from his great show of teamwork and fortitude?
Drew left school after his parents allegedly pressed for the coaching staff to move their son back to a starting position after spending four games coming off the bench. They then approved their son's departure from the team when he wasn't reinstated as the team's starting point guard.
While this is a college-level incident, this type of thing has occurred for years at the high school level. Over-zealous, unrealistic parents place demands upon a coach or athletic administrator and create a ruckus when they don't get their way.
It is purported that athletics is a great vehicle to develop life-long values. One has to wonder what can we take away from this example?
Here are some critical points for athletic administrators ton consider in times like these:
1. Parents may not be the most realistic judge of their child's athletic ability. Love usually overrides logic and reason.
2. All rules, policies and procedures are great until they directly affect a parent's child.
3. While athletics does not develop character, it is revealed in participation and competition.
All of this makes the job as the athletic administrator extremely difficult. It is vital that you mentor and guide your coaches so that they are as prepared as possible to handle these challenges. In addition to providing strategies, please also take a supportive stance and stand behind your coaches.
Your support can and should take the form of serving as a buffer. Handle the tough phone calls from misguided parents and set the standards that interference with the athletic program will not be tolerated. If needed and whenever possible, sit in on all parent-coach meetings to ensure that civility, courtesy and respect are always afforded your coach.
Athletics is, after all, a privilege and not a right. Being part of a team and how much one plays should be based upon what is done in practice and what is best in terms of the team--not individuals. Demands from unrealistic parents cannot be allowed to influence this critical part of education.
David Hoch, EdD, CMAA, recently retired as Athletic Director at Loch Raven High School in Baltimore County, Md. He is a frequent contributor to Athletic Management.