Every off season of whatever sport it maybe professional or college, the headlines are flooded with what college coach got a professional job, what coach is moving from this college to that, or what coach was just fired for not winning. If there is a coaching vacancy, it most likely was due to the program/sport not winning. It is not very often you hear too much about high school coaches being fired for lack of winning, but should this happen? I would say, yes!
Here in Northern Minnesota I can’t remember the last time a high school coach of any sport was fired, relieved of their duties, demoted or whatever you want to call if because the team was not winning. I understand kids don’t go to high school to play sports, but to get an education. But please, no matter what sport it is, a school loves the media coverage, positive school environment and student participation they will get for a winning team, especially the big three football, basketball and hockey.
I bring this up because of the semi-recent coaching change at Hermantown High School and the boys basketball team. Mike Pothast took over the team after having a record of 1-25 in 2007-2008. The team has improved its record every season since Mr. Pothast was named head coach. To my knowledge the coach before was not fired but just stepped down. This is a very good example of new blood coming in, reviving a program through hard work and getting the student body excited about a sport other than the successful hockey team.
Should a coach be fired for one terrible season like the 1-25 record mentioned earlier? No but if their team is consistently bad, I would argue a new coach is needed. At the high school level a coach is just as important for the programs success as its failures. When the team is winning or at least competitive, more students want to play, more students stay out of trouble, more students try harder in the classroom to stay eligible to play, and the playing arenas are filled with spectators wanting to watch their fellow students compete.
I know at the high school level with teachers, unions and school boards, firing is more difficult than at the professional and college levels, but coaches need to be held accountable for consistently bad teams year after year. School districts need fire more coaches for consistently bad teams, and they need to bring in someone new, someone with new ideas, someone new the kids will respond to, and someone who will show some ambition to improve the program. I would also argue even at the high school level, teams are bad because their coaches are bad.