Coach shortage afflicts fall sports teams
Sierra Sun sports editor
Due to a summer-long stretch of construction at Truckee Tahoe High School, athletic director Bob Shaffer and other school staff have not been allowed in their offices.
And “under construction” would also be a good way to describe the current coaching staff situation at Truckee High. As it stands, the boys tennis and cross country teams and the girls junior varsity and varsity soccer teams are without head coaches. The bad news is that some of these teams have already had to cancel scheduled games for the fall season, or they are in jeopardy of having to do so.
Former coaches Mark Brady (cross country) and Rob Miller (boys tennis) resigned weeks or months ago. But the biggest shocker was the resignation of girls varsity coach Kyle Adams a little over a week ago. Soon thereafter, the JV soccer coach followed suit.
The technicalities of hiring a new coach have already forced the varsity and JV girls soccer teams to cancel their season-opening tournaments at Galena and Quincy this weekend.
“There’s a 10-day posting period,” Shaffer said, “and after that 10 days is up, which I think is Friday (today), then they can interview and hire somebody, hopefully ASAP.”
Still, the next set of coaches will have to have CPR and First-Aid training and then get fingerprinted and background checked, Shaffer said.
“Then they can start. If they haven’t had that done, it will kind of elongate this period without a coach in the official position,” he said.
In other words, it is no easy task finding replacements. Right now, the applications for the soccer jobs sit in the district office, so Shaffer has not seen any possible candidates. At this time, no one has shown interest in cross country or boys tennis. The first scheduled boys tennis match is Aug. 31, and the first scheduled cross country meet is Sept. 10.
Luckily for the girls soccer players, boys soccer head coach Rob Curtis is acting as the interim coach until a new coach takes over. Former coach Adams refused to comment on his departure, but Shaffer was willing to talk, albeit carefully.
“Kyle resigned, and the unfortunate thing is everything happened at the last minute,” he said. “If it was going to happen, we needed that to take place a lot sooner than it did, so we could have got someone in place before the summer was over. Now we’re kind of behind the 8-Ball.”
Shaffer noted that many of the girls have played club soccer during the spring and summer, which will help them. But he noted that there is something to say about meshing with a coach.
“They just need to get to know the characteristics and philosophies of this new coach ” offensively and defensively and practice-wise, so that they can get back to that state championship game,” said Shaffer, drawing from his experience as the head football coach.
In two years as head coach, Adams led the girls to consecutive 3A state championship games. Truckee won the title in 2002 and lost to North Tahoe, 6-5, in last year’s championship game by way of a shoot-out.
The lack of interest in the tennis and cross country position is baffling, Shaffer said. But then again, it is not typical to have so many vacancies at one time.
“Usually whenever there’s a job that’s opened up, somebody has stepped up pretty quick,” he said. “We’ve never had a problem where we’ve come into a season and not had a coach in place. If anybody in the community is interested, the door’s wide open.”
Shaffer stressed that anyone interested in the coaching vacancies should contact the school at 582-2600 and ask for Mike Finney, or call 582-2602 and leave a message for Shaffer. Starting Monday, Shaffer will be in his office at 582-2612.
In a related story, Truckee will also have to fill coaching voids in baseball and track and field in spring 2005. After leading Truckee to a third-place in the 3A state championship tournament in 2004, head baseball coach Jason Estabrook has announced his resignation.
“What he brought to the program was knowledge, enthusiasm, devotion to the game; and he gave up a lot of time with his family, like all our coaches. His wife did, too; she was right there for everything,” Shaffer said bout Estabrook’s contribution to Truckee baseball.
According to Shaffer, Estabrook has taken a coaching job in Alabama to be closer to his wife’s family. Estabrook was the head coach for four seasons.
Meanwhile, Kevin Coleman and Maggie Shane, who coached track and field in tandem, have also resigned from their posts as the track and field coaches.
With the recent budget cuts in the athletic department, it looks like Truckee High will not be forced to cut any programs, but a temporary adjustment has led to a $25 increase in participation fees for each sport.
If that’s all that happens, Shaffer said he will consider it a relief.
“I was worried about cutting sports, cutting back coaching stipends and having to pay for all our non-league transportation ” that’s still something that could happen,” he said.
Shaffer said that the parents have been comfortable with the fee increase, considering no programs have been cut. Plus, the fall programs have not had to cut games from their schedules, which was discussed in the past as a money-saving solution.
“I think we can all live with that,” he said. “Most people spend ($25) in one spot. We all went in with the idea that we really didn’t want to hurt any kids’ chances to do extracurricular activities here.”
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