High school coach experience levels?

Discussion in 'High School' started by CornfieldSoccer, Dec 16, 2021.

  1. CornfieldSoccer

    Aug 22, 2013
    Unfortunately my son's high school coach is stepping down (he's a mixed bag, but at least a known quantity), meaning my son's team will have a new coach and potentially entirely new staff next fall for his senior year. I'm dreading the upheaval and the possibility that they may not have a new one for several months and won't even really get going until late summer.

    But I'm curious what the typical high school coach is in terms of experience. Would love to hear what others' kids have had as HS coaches, boys and girls.

    I'm also curious what the hiring process is for those who have some idea. The booster club leadership here asked if someone from the club might have a role in the hiring process or at least be allowed to weigh in since some of us know a few of the local club coaches. That request was declined (I wasn't shocked; I'm sure direct parent involvement is an AD's nightmare).

    The guy who is leaving was, as far as a know, a high school player 15 or so years ago and has coached the team for several years. Beyond that, I'm not sure what his experience/training is, if any. He had a rotating group of assistants, two of whom seemed to have played low-level college soccer and one of whom had coached a little club soccer at a small club.

    The other coaches in the team's conference are all over the place -- a dad who played in college and still plays a ton as an adult, random teachers who played in their youth, people who've coached a lot of club soccer and seem to have some decent coaching ability, ...

    I'm not terribly optimistic about what the team will wind up with. The primary qualification, from what I can tell, is being willing to do it and having a schedule that allows it (which I assume narrows the pool to mostly teachers).
  2. soccerdad72

    soccerdad72 Member

    United States
    Apr 5, 2021
    My younger son’s current HS coach (who was hired right before his freshman year) was a long time club coach for many years before he took the HS job. He’s also an alum (Catholic school) so that helps too.

    His predecessor is the reason why my older son quit after his junior year. My son’s varsity coach his freshman year was a coach who had been there for many years and, from what I understand, a local legend as a player from the adult leagues. He left after my son’s freshman year for a coaching job closer to his home and his day business. For the most part, especially in the Catholic schools, coaching is a part time job. The kid they hired to replace him had almost no experience, except a couple years assisting on clubs, was like 24 and arrogant as all heck. Instantly, my son and a few others got on his bad side and pretty much never saw the field for two years. The players who were moved ahead of him were kids who, even by their own admission, weren’t nearly the skilled player my son was. But this coach didn’t want to listen to anyone, not even his own senior captains. Eventually, he got fired.
  3. CornfieldSoccer

    Aug 22, 2013
    It's a PT job at my son's school and likely all in the conference (all public aside from a well--funded private school thrown in). The private school probably plays the best soccer year in and year out, but I don't know anything about their coaching, just that most if not all of their roster plays club soccer.

    Sorry about your older son's experience. My son's outgoing coach has made a bunch of questionable calls about him and a handful of his teammates, and he's definitely had to work harder than a number of the other starters to win and keep a lineup spot. But none of it was bad enough to force him out.
  4. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon Member+

    Feb 27, 2017
    DS' coach was around when he joined the team. I believe he coached a small college team in the same community before coming to the HS. His son had played for the team. Like any coaches we've been with, there were decisions we didn't understand/agree with. But that's normal.

    DD had a new coach this year (Soph). He had former HS experience and had (has?) kids that play. He's made some questionable decisions, more so than the boys coach IMO.

    I know the boys coach does it as a side gig. I'm assuming the girl's coach does also.
  5. CornfieldSoccer

    Aug 22, 2013
    There's a coach working at the juco level in the area who used to coach one of the local high schools that I'd like to see run my son's team, but that's not happening (college-level jobs being harder to come by, I assume he wouldn't give that up until he's sure he's done with college coaching).

    There are a couple of area club-level coaches I like and respect quite a bit who I've thought about suggesting they apply, but I'm not sure this HS program has enough talent once you get past the top 10-12 players to coach the style that they're good at, or that the HS season offers enough time to coach kids up and get there.

    There's a philosophical question in there that I've wondered about and don't have a good answer to: Once you hit high school (the top level most players will ever play), is it acceptable to coach to win first, even to the extent that there will be players on your bench who will never see the field outside of blowouts against weak competition?

    I grew up in a football-is-everything state and went to a big high school. And, as bad as the football teams were during my four years there, there were kids on the end of the bench who didn't play more than token minutes. They were essentially practice players and, at least publicly, nobody objected to that approach.

    I'm sure there were parents who grumbled about it and I'm sure that would be case the case if that was the approach with my son's HS soccer team. But -- if you got the schedule right and didn't wear out the 12-15 kids who actually played consistently -- his team might be able to make a pretty good run next fall with that approach. Their big rival essentially did that this fall and went pretty far.
    bigredfutbol repped this.
  6. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon Member+

    Feb 27, 2017
    Based solely on my experiences with HS and club soccer. HS goal is to "win first". Now, that doesn't mean development isn't needed. This year's freshmen and sophomores will be upperclassmen in a year or two. So you need to develop them. So yes, the traditional "bench" players DO need some time to help them see the talent and speed they'll be playing against in coming years.

    Club, on the other hand, should have the goal, again IMO, of developing players to play at the "next level". Now, is the "next level" moving from the B team to the A team? Is it playing on the same team but at a higher league/tournament the following year? Is it playing HS V? College V? That will all depend on the age and skill level of the players.
    bigredfutbol repped this.
  7. CornfieldSoccer

    Aug 22, 2013
    I wasn't thinking so much about winning at the expense of playing bench kids so they're ready in the years to come as winning at the expense of playing time for the kids who -- whether they're seniors or otherwise -- just aren't quite good enough to contribute meaningfully right now. Is it OK to say winning is more important than trying to make sure those kids play more than a few token minutes?

    But it's a good point. The rival team I mentioned is likely going to be pretty bare next fall. The 13 or 14 kids who played any meaningful minutes were almost all seniors, but the other kids on the bench played next to no time at all (we know some of the parents and heard about it quite a bit). Next year's starters will mostly come from that group. I'll be curious to see what they look like as a group of mostly seniors playing their first real HS minutes.
  8. sam_gordon

    sam_gordon Member+

    Feb 27, 2017
    Well, considering most games are decided by a goal, maybe two, playing the unskilled (relative of course) players much more than token minutes COULD be the difference between a win, draw, or even a loss.

    So I go back to "yes, the HS goal is to 'win'". More so than in club.
  9. Kit

    Kit Member+

    Aug 30, 1999
    Herkimer, NY, USA
    Everton FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I know this is late, but the priority for hiring HS coaches in all sports is generally:

    1. PE teachers from that district
    2. Other teachers from that district
    3. Non-instructional staff from the district
    4. Others
    bigredfutbol repped this.
  10. CornfieldSoccer

    Aug 22, 2013
    I forgot about this thread, so I'll update it.

    The new coach is:

    -- a graduate of the school who played for the team eight or so years ago.
    -- was a good college player from a local family that has produced a handful of accomplished soccer players.
    -- a teacher (you almost have to be, I guess).
    -- promising so far in terms of his plans and how he wants to play, even if he is a little green as a coach.

    All things considered, it could have been a lot worse.
    bigredfutbol repped this.
  11. bluechicago

    bluechicago Member

    Nov 2, 2010
    Chelsea FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I think the must be a teacher/in district employee is fading a bit, at least in our urban area. Our local HS and several others have either a boys or girls coach that was not an employee or teacher before they were hired. Have also seen this with basketball and football, though the head football coach is still almost always a school employee.
    bigredfutbol repped this.

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