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The Gridiron Digest

High Coaching Turnover A Real Concern - Impacts Competitive Balance


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Indiana high schools are churning football coaches at the highest rate we've ever seen.
 
47 Head Coaches have stepped down from their positions following the 2021 season, or nearly 15% of the total. Extrapolated over 3 years, we could expect to see over 40% of the coaching positions at Indiana high schools turn over in a three year period.
What are the reasons for all this churn? Many of the coaches on the list are very young and have not been around long in their current, most recent assignments. Is it due to low stipends, poor administrative support, lack of football culture, low community involvement, low participation, competitive issues, burnout? The list goes on.
 
17 positions remain open and its nearly May!
 
Coaching churn impacts competitive balance and widens the gap between successful programs and those who lose consistently.
 
COACHING CHANGES
TEAM 2021 COACH 2022 COACH
Anderson Ron Qualls Jarrod Pennycuff
Attica Theron Schmid OPEN
Cambridge City Lincoln Phil Renforth OPEN
Centerville Kyle Padgett OPEN Ryan Cole (Wes Del HC)
Clinton Prairie Raymond Jones Kurt Schlicher (Crawfordsville HC)
Cloverdale Tom Winders Tyler Lotz
Connersville Justin Jackson Ryan Lynch
Covington Travis Brown Mike Cross
Crawfordsville Kurt Schlicher OPEN
Eastern Greene Roy Bruce OPEN
Eastern Hancock Phil Morris Pat Echeverria (Pike HC)
Elkhart Josh Shattuck Romison St Louis (Peru HC)
Fort Wayne Concordia Mike Eshbach Tim Mannigel
Fountain Central Ryan Hall Herb King (Seeger HC)
Frontier Troy Burgess Raymond Jones (Clinton Prairie HC)
Gary West Side Eric Schreiber JR OPEN
Goshen Kyle Park Tom Wogomon
Indian Creek Steve Spinks Casey Gillin (Mooresville OC)
Indianapolis Roncalli John Rodenberg Eric Quintana (Chatard DC)
Jennings County Justin Baldwin Nic Vasilchek
John Glenn Austin Foust John Barron (Plymouth HC)
Kankakee Valley James Broyles Kirk Kennedy
LaPorte David Ortiz OPEN
Leo Jared Sauder OPEN
McCutcheon Ken Frauhiger Josh Strasser (McCutcheon Ast HC)
Mitchell Troy Pritchett Kevin Kling
Muncie Central Darrick Lee Kyle Padgett (Centerville HC)
North Putnam Ryan Burress Scott_Moore
Peru Romison St Louis OPEN
Pike Pat Echeverria Mike Brevard
Plymouth John Barron OPEN
Princeton Jared Maners Eric Schnur
Purdue Polytechnic Dante Cook Chris Chang
Richmond Tony Sonsini OPEN
Rock Creek Academy Josh Caldwell Todd Bale
Seeger Herb King OPEN
South Bend Riley Justin Kinzie Darrick Lee (Muncie Cent HC)
South Bend St. Joseph Bryon Whitten Ben Downey
South Decatur Rick Zimmerman OPEN
Sullivan Blaine Powell OPEN
Tell City Mac Webb OPEN
Tri-County Eric Davis Jake West
Wabash Adam Handley OPEN
West Vigo Jeff Cobb Aaron Clements
Whiting Brett Jennings OPEN
Winamac John Hendryx Josh Burgess
Wes Del Ryan Cole OPEN
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Teaching is harder than it's ever been and teacher pay in Indiana doesn't compare well to surrounding states.  Many schools haven't redone their coaching pay scales in 20+ years (hard to up coaching pay when teacher pay is lagging so far behind).  Finding assistant coaches is harder than ever as the number of young people entering education continues to decline.  Then there is the expectation by parents that with 2 assistants at the school and with your $7000 stipend that the program should resemble a small college, all while being one of the most widely criticized humans in a given school district............. it becomes a less and less attractive job every year.  

Some schools invest more than others and are rewarded with a stable coaching staff and with that stability often comes success.  Other schools choose to constantly band aid the situation and ignore the facts of what it takes to run a competitive program in 2022.  Those places will continue to struggle. 

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23 minutes ago, Wedgebuster said:

Teaching is harder than it's ever been and teacher pay in Indiana doesn't compare well to surrounding states.  Many schools haven't redone their coaching pay scales in 20+ years (hard to up coaching pay when teacher pay is lagging so far behind).  Finding assistant coaches is harder than ever as the number of young people entering education continues to decline.  Then there is the expectation by parents that with 2 assistants at the school and with your $7000 stipend that the program should resemble a small college, all while being one of the most widely criticized humans in a given school district............. it becomes a less and less attractive job every year.  

Just change a few words here and there, and you’ve described the officials shortage in a nutshell. Makes me wonder if there isn’t a common cause in there somewhere.

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2 hours ago, Wedgebuster said:

Teaching is harder than it's ever been and teacher pay in Indiana doesn't compare well to surrounding states.  Many schools haven't redone their coaching pay scales in 20+ years (hard to up coaching pay when teacher pay is lagging so far behind).  Finding assistant coaches is harder than ever as the number of young people entering education continues to decline.  Then there is the expectation by parents that with 2 assistants at the school and with your $7000 stipend that the program should resemble a small college, all while being one of the most widely criticized humans in a given school district............. it becomes a less and less attractive job every year.  

Some schools invest more than others and are rewarded with a stable coaching staff and with that stability often comes success.  Other schools choose to constantly band aid the situation and ignore the facts of what it takes to run a competitive program in 2022.  Those places will continue to struggle. 

What's discouraging is the exodus of very young coaches from the sidelines.  Ultimately this leads to more lay coaches, which in turn begins to make football look and feel like an after school club sport.  

Id rather see 20% of the programs contract and the remaining resources (funding/coaches/officials) spread across the schools that want to keep playing football at a reasonably competitive level.  

Ive never been a fan of 8 man, but it might be a solution for those schools who want to disinvest in the sport without eliminating it altogether.  

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Not sure if many schools have this problem or not, but I have heard that not being able to pass a background check is what is keeping people from being employed at schools.

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5 hours ago, Wedgebuster said:

Teaching is harder than it's ever been and teacher pay in Indiana doesn't compare well to surrounding states.  Many schools haven't redone their coaching pay scales in 20+ years (hard to up coaching pay when teacher pay is lagging so far behind).  Finding assistant coaches is harder than ever as the number of young people entering education continues to decline.  Then there is the expectation by parents that with 2 assistants at the school and with your $7000 stipend that the program should resemble a small college, all while being one of the most widely criticized humans in a given school district............. it becomes a less and less attractive job every year.  

Some schools invest more than others and are rewarded with a stable coaching staff and with that stability often comes success.  Other schools choose to constantly band aid the situation and ignore the facts of what it takes to run a competitive program in 2022.  Those places will continue to struggle. 

This right here. Some can manage - but the days of a core classroom teacher (excluding PE here) meeting the demands of both classroom and coaching expectations is being more rare and rare. 

Successful (football) schools have countered by "creating" non-classroom positions for Head coaches that allow more time for the prep work of a head coach. 

Maybe just end the charade and make it like Texas. 

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36 minutes ago, jets said:

This right here. Some can manage - but the days of a core classroom teacher (excluding PE here) meeting the demands of both classroom and coaching expectations is being more rare and rare. 

Successful (football) schools have countered by "creating" non-classroom positions for Head coaches that allow more time for the prep work of a head coach. 

Maybe just end the charade and make it like Texas. 

Hence, "Dean of Students"

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Administrators ego's are effecting this as well . It used to be when a teacher came in for an interview one of the questions asked was what sport could you coach ? Now I told a fellow young coach/teacher , don't even mention coaching unless they bring it up and most won't anymore . Head coaches need guys in the building and principals refuse to help, principals want to find a teacher on there own. I've seen numerous times were guys coach at one schools and teach at another and get constantly passed over for multiple positions in the district , good teachers already a little extra invested in that districts students can't get a sniff because there name was brought to an admin . 

its funny the misconception around many Football coaches . I've always said could you imagine the way the administration and the school cooperation as a whole would look at a teacher who - lets say was say "in charge of the year book" or the "Sophomore class sponsor and they spent even half the time outside of school with the students that Football coaches do?  They would win teacher of the year every year.  

Its sad but I've always said most go into Administration for 1 of 3 reasons 

1) The are tired and/or not very good in the classroom 

2) They want Admin level money 

3) Both 1 and 2 

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I would of loved to stay on a staff, but leaving the teaching profession and transitioning into the private sector was much higher on the priority list than coaching. 

Tough to rationalize making 40k as a teacher + a couple grand coaching over a career that gives you an opportunity to provide for your family in a manner I wanted. 

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1 hour ago, TRCJunkie said:

I would of loved to stay on a staff, but leaving the teaching profession and transitioning into the private sector was much higher on the priority list than coaching. 

Tough to rationalize making 40k as a teacher + a couple grand coaching over a career that gives you an opportunity to provide for your family in a manner I wanted. 

That's definitely not very good money, especially when it requires a degree. The Indiana Department of Correction pays a rookie correctional officer better than that and the minimum requirement is a GED, a driver's license, and the ability to pass a drug screen and a background check. The work is dangerous, but I digress.

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20 hours ago, EasyEJay said:

Administrators ego's are effecting this as well . It used to be when a teacher came in for an interview one of the questions asked was what sport could you coach ? Now I told a fellow young coach/teacher , don't even mention coaching unless they bring it up and most won't anymore . Head coaches need guys in the building and principals refuse to help, principals want to find a teacher on there own. I've seen numerous times were guys coach at one schools and teach at another and get constantly passed over for multiple positions in the district , good teachers already a little extra invested in that districts students can't get a sniff because there name was brought to an admin . 

its funny the misconception around many Football coaches . I've always said could you imagine the way the administration and the school cooperation as a whole would look at a teacher who - lets say was say "in charge of the year book" or the "Sophomore class sponsor and they spent even half the time outside of school with the students that Football coaches do?  They would win teacher of the year every year.  

Its sad but I've always said most go into Administration for 1 of 3 reasons 

1) The are tired and/or not very good in the classroom 

2) They want Admin level money 

3) Both 1 and 2 

I think your spot on with this.

Who the Administrators are has also changed over time.  When I started teaching, Principals and Athletic Directors were often veteran teacher coaches that chose to go the Admin route for the last 5-10 years of their career in order to boost their salary #s for retirement.   More recently I've worked for administrators that have never coached, and many taught less then 5 years before they came to the conclusions you mentioned above.  

So what does that mean?...........It means that often the people calling the shots in our schools have less experience and a narrower view than most of the people that they govern. 

This will only get worse as teacher pay scales have now changed to stop giving credit for Master's degrees and years of experience.  That will either push more very young teachers into Administration before they are ready to increase their salary AND/OR create a shortage of teachers with a Master's in Administration.  This creates a real talent gap for admin jobs.  

15 years ago a lot of veteran teachers had a masters in ed leadership that they obtained in order to move up the pay scale, even if at the time they obtained it they never thought they would use.........and as a result you saw 50+ applicants for principal jobs.....fast forward to 2022 where there is no incentive for teachers to obtain their masters combined with nasty parents and the general attack on public education that you see in many places and forms around our country and those jobs are now getting 5-15 applicants.  

So now the people that are doing the hiring in schools often lack the experience to 

  1. See the big picture of coaching hires being good for kids and school culture
  2. See beyond the interview to what the individual can actually bring to the position
  3. Not be intimidated by someone recommending a candidate to them (because they see taking input as a sign of weakness when it should be viewed as a strength)

This truly is a multi-tiered problem.  

 

 

 

 

 

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21 hours ago, AG said:

That's definitely not very good money, especially when it requires a degree. The Indiana Department of Correction pays a rookie correctional officer better than that and the minimum requirement is a GED, a driver's license, and the ability to pass a drug screen and a background check. The work is dangerous, but I digress.

The problem will only worsen. When I first began I knew, accepted, and (potentially wrongly) assumed teaching was a low pay/high status job. In my opinion, it has moved to a low pay/low status job. I'm okay with one, but not both. 

Why teach when you can make transition into another career with immediate hefty raises? Seems like we're on a sinking ship. 

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Fully aware my opinion may not be popular with some....

RE: Teacher pay.  Some of this is relative to the corporation contract structure.  Speaking personally, we have a rather favorable contract structure for experienced teachers with a Master's.  I do not feel "underpaid", considering I'm contracted for a little over 180 days a year.  If you prorated my salary out over an entire year, my teacher salary is very competitive with most anything else I'd be interested or qualified to do.

RE: Coaching pay.  For the vast majority of coaches, the off-season commitment has increased exponentially over the years ....your coaching stipend has not.  And because these commitments, by their nature, generally occur outside of the school day...it has a much more significant impact on your own family obligations.  And its generally not compensated for.  

Now none of us got into coaching high school football to get rich.  But I suspect the turnover your seeing is a direct reflection of the expectation that football coaches give so much more of their offseason time, while still expecting them to have full time teaching workloads and not increasing their extracurricular stipend to an amount commensurate with that time commitment.   Off-season weights, off-season football workouts (now ok to do), a full summer weight and football practice schedule, multiple summer scrimmages, throw in a team camp, clinics, etc, etc  ....My wife would trade my being MIA during two weeks of 2 a Days, for June/July rules going back to their previous versions.  When you have kids with their own Winter, Spring, Summer stuff and a wife that works her own job, the off-season time starts to require sacrifices of more than just Dad...most of that load goes on Mom.  We all know this, we signed up for it, we love the game; but a lot of coaches are finding that when it comes to raising a family in the 2020's...the balance just isn't there anymore.

With some exceptions, your "mega-schools" will be able to manage this better due to a wide variety of resources, and your tiny schools, won't have as much commitment of time due to the number of athletes that are shared with other sports. Its the schools somewhere in the middle that are really putting the squeeze on their coaches.  Of course there are exceptions to this.

Notice I don't have any answers...

People knock on some schools that created internal positions for head coaches, coordinators, etc.  But the reality is, those schools understand what is being asked in terms of the time commitment to have a successful program.  If your community has a football program with 75-100+ kids, with an expectation that it will be successful.  You want good coaches with staff continuity, that's only gonna happen if the coaches feel the juice is worth the squeeze every year.  In some places it isn't.  

(I'm sure there are a variety of typos, etc above....I don't have the energy to proof read since this was more or less a rant of 🤮mental word vomit)

 

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Is there any truth to the theory that teachers accept lower pay in exchange for a shortened work year and long term job security as compared to their corporate business counterparts, who routinely work 60 hour weeks and have little job security , but generally higher pay?  

Also, as I read through many of these comments, it appears to me that just maybe there are too many administrative jobs that are enticing teachers to step out of the classroom and off the athletic fields and into a corner office with a mahogany desk and a big cushioned chair.  Perhaps some of that excess admin overhead can trickle down to the rank and file, making things more amenable for those teachers and coaches on the front lines.

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4 minutes ago, HHF said:

Is there any truth to the theory that teachers accept lower pay in exchange for a shortened work year and long term job security as compared to their corporate business counterparts, who routinely work 60 hour weeks and have little job security , but generally higher pay?  

Also, as I read through many of these comments, it appears to me that just maybe there are too many administrative jobs that are enticing teachers to step out of the classroom and off the athletic fields and into a corner office with a mahogany desk and a big cushioned chair.  Perhaps some of that excess admin overhead can trickle down to the rank and file, making things more amenable for those teachers and coaches on the front lines.

Yes, if you break most teachers’ contract hours down into an hourly wage, it’s more than competitive relative to the median income of the average American.  All careers have those “extras” they are piling on top so very few actually only “work” their contract hours.

Now, if you add in coaching stipends and break those down in the same fashion, you’ll be extremely depressed.

 

 

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9 hours ago, temptation said:

Yes, if you break most teachers’ contract hours down into an hourly wage, it’s more than competitive relative to the median income of the average American.  All careers have those “extras” they are piling on top so very few actually only “work” their contract hours.

Now, if you add in coaching stipends and break those down in the same fashion, you’ll be extremely depressed.

 

 

Now lets compare teacher's pay to others with Bachelor's or Master's Degrees..............or anyone in the Education field that is in charge of Dozens or Hundreds of individuals and compare their salary to someone in the private sector who is in charge of a similar amount of people.............😕

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On 5/2/2022 at 8:09 AM, HHF said:

  Ultimately this leads to more lay coaches, which in turn begins to make football look and feel like an after school club sport.  

And this is bad exactly why?

 

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Friday night varsity football forms part of the central DNA core of the high school experience.  All of us here know that, yourself included, which is why we all gather and meet here.  Its deeply embedded in us.  Its the only explanation for why we spend so much of our time here, when we could be doing other things.  You cant deny it.

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On 5/3/2022 at 10:03 PM, HHF said:

Is there any truth to the theory that teachers accept lower pay in exchange for a shortened work year and long term job security as compared to their corporate business counterparts, who routinely work 60 hour weeks and have little job security , but generally higher pay?  

Also, as I read through many of these comments, it appears to me that just maybe there are too many administrative jobs that are enticing teachers to step out of the classroom and off the athletic fields and into a corner office with a mahogany desk and a big cushioned chair.  Perhaps some of that excess admin overhead can trickle down to the rank and file, making things more amenable for those teachers and coaches on the front lines.

I am not trying to debate any of the points you've made...I think there is some truth to both.  Although in my years of teaching, I feel I've seen as many people leave teaching for "traditional jobs" as I have seen people transition to teaching from those same types of jobs.  Different strokes for different folks.

RE: the admin thing....While you could find examples otherwise, most of the time an "administrator" title is going to come along with a large amount of supervision requirements.  Some of this is during the school day (lunch, bus duty, etc), much of it is outside the school day (sporting events, prom, music/theater performances, dances, etc.  Often, as a HC gains an administrator title, he or she would only have those supervision requirements outside of his or her sport's season. 

Now, do I think there are some admin jobs that don't really need to exist...100% I do (most people in "traditional" jobs would say the same thing).  But I think some people don't realize the amount of "work" the federal, state, and local governments require a school to do that isn't always directly related to teaching kids.  I also don't think people realize the amount of events that go on at a school outside of the school day that require administrative supervision.  

I'm not pointing this out as a good/bad or pro/con of these admin roles.  Just pointing out what most people overlook.  

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The Jennings County job is also open. Nic Vasilchek has now accepted and backed out of the job twice in the past 3-4 months. Not counting Vasilchek (since he never actually coached a game at Jennings County), the Panthers are looking for their sixth coach in 11 years.

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2 hours ago, HHF said:

Friday night varsity football forms part of the central DNA core of the high school experience.  All of us here know that, yourself included, which is why we all gather and meet here.  Its deeply embedded in us.  Its the only explanation for why we spend so much of our time here, when we could be doing other things.  You cant deny it.

So you don't think people who enjoy Chess and support the after school Chess club don't have Chess "deeply embedded" in them?  They don't spend much of their time on Chess forums?

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43 minutes ago, Muda69 said:

So you don't think people who enjoy Chess and support the after school Chess club don't have Chess "deeply embedded" in them?  They don't spend much of their time on Chess forums?

Im not going down this ridiculous road with you.  

If you truly feel that football should no longer be a varsity sport, you should leave this forum and go spew your anti government rhetoric elsewhere.  High school varsity football is the common denominator we all share here.  

 

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I stepped away from coaching in 1985 because of greater job demands.... I had coached as a lay coach from 1978 to 1985. When I retired in 2017, I decided to get back into coaching full time because I was bored with retirement. I had coached various youth league teams on a part time basis between 1985 and 2017; however, I digress. I thought it would be better if I was an in the building coach so I went back to school at the ripe old age of 65 to obtain my Professional Educators License. This marks my fifth season at the secondary level as a coach of two sports. With all the ups and downs it has been a journey.... it keeps me young!

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1 hour ago, HHF said:

Im not going down this ridiculous road with you.  

If you truly feel that football should no longer be a varsity sport, you should leave this forum and go spew your anti government rhetoric elsewhere.  High school varsity football is the common denominator we all share here.  

 

I love you too.

 

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