If nothing else, the recent appearance of Boo Henderson at a Wood County Board of Education meeting shed light on the plight of lay coaches in the state of West Virginia.
By state school policy, lay coaches - those who do not have a teaching certificate -only can be hired when no teacher applies for the available coaching position.
Then, even if they are hired, they must re-apply for the position every year, and the first time a teacher applies, they are out.
Henderson expressed his frustration with the system. He had coached the middle school football program at VanDevender last year, impressing both those who played for him as well as school administrators. He was making progress with a program that needed a major boost.
But, when the job was posted this year, a teacher applied. So Henderson is out. Someone else will reap the benefits of all the hard work he put in.
This isn't the first time it has happened and it won't be the last.
Not unless West Virginia changes its law and opens up coaching contracts to all who apply, which seems unlikely to happen.
For decades, the only coaches were those who taught in the schools. I know when I attended Parkersburg South there was a core group of coaches who got involved in multiple sports. Each would serve as the head coach for one sport, then be an assistant coach in others. For example, wrestling coach Rod Oldham also was an assistant coach for the football program in the fall and the track program in the spring.
As more females entered the teaching profession, the number of available coaches decreased, creating a shortage. Thus, it was decided those outside the education field could coach if no teacher wanted the job.
My staff and I deal with numerous lay coaches. Like those who are teachers, some are excellent, some are average, some you wonder how they got hired.
There no doubt is an advantage for those who teach at the school at which they coach.
They get to know the student-athletes just by being with them day after day. They can learn the different personalities and family situations.
They know who broke up with their significant other and thus is having a bad day. A lay coach who simply shows up for practice doesn't enjoy those advantages.
Plus, those who teach at the school have an opportunity to promote their program.
They see a potential athlete and they talk to them about coming out for the team.
They plant that seed and it often flowers into a star player.
Those who are in the building every day also have more contact with their administrators and can alert the principal and/or athletics director to situations that arise in their program.
This is a tough issue. Just look at what has taken place since Paul Jackson resigned as the head coach of the state's most successful program. In the past 30 years, Parkersburg South wrestling has won 17 state titles, more than any other school in any other sport.
Jackson, who had been part of nine of those titles, had put together a strong group of assistant coaches who could continue the coaching methods that had been a major part of those titles.
But none of the assistants are teachers. Although long-time assistant Gary Porter applied, South Athletics Director Rick Leach can't hire him because four teachers have applied. The future of the state's most successful program and one which naturally is of intense interest to South's large contingent of fans hangs in the balance.
There have been strong indications administrators would like to consider Porter, who has impressed them with his knowledge and work ethic. But that can't happen.
Until the policy is changed, such situations will continue to arise.
The victims in many cases are the athletes whose chances of winning championships and earning scholarships will suffer as does the quality of coaching.
Contact Dave Poe at email@example.com