West Virginia Wrestling


by Dr. Bill Welker

... on Paraprofessional Coaches

In recent years, we have begun to witness a lack of teacher-coaches in both the junior and senior high school levels. Thus, many state athletic associations have developed coaching classes for nonprofessional staff coaches in order to solve this shortage problem.

As a wrestling observer, I feel the need to offer some additional thoughts regarding the use of coaches who are not faculty members. To begin with, I think it is admirable that such individuals are willing to give of their time to help our young athletes. My only concern is that they understand the proper coaching protocol for interscholastic competition. And I have good reason to bring up this potential problem area. See if you agree.

Many of these auxiliary coaches are men who have had many years of experience in smallfry wrestling and the numerous tournaments associated with it. This is where the most serious problem exists because there is no true governing body for the majority of such events. Hence, many of these same coaches have had the opportunity to express inappropriate behavior without fear of being penalized. Instead, more often than not, it is the officials at these competitions who are penalized for doing their job. Consider the following true account.

A competent officiating colleague of mine was refereeing in smallfry tournament, and was pushed into the score table by an irate coach. He asked the coach to leave the premises. Guess what happened? It wasn't the coach who was asked to leave, but the official. As it turns out, the coach was a good friend of the tournament director, so the referee was "out-of-there!"

Be forewarned--this will NOT happen in scholastic wrestling. If a coach gets out of line, he can expect anything from a team-point deduction to complete expulsion from junior and senior high school coaching, depending on the severity of his actions.

In sum, I wish all these coaches the best of luck with their teams. But please take heed to the my advice--because there are governing bodies in secondary school wrestling and rules for coaching behavior are strictly enforced.

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Updated October 25, 1997