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El Paso County Colorado District 49

Turnover within D 49 athletic department

As Falcon School District 49 again regroups with new leaders and changes in the central administration office, the districtís athletic department is feeling the effects of ongoing upheaval at the top.ìOverall, the amount of turnover in the head coaching staff is a little bit greater than some other schools in the Pikes Peak region,î said Jay Hahn, D 49 athletic director. ìI think itís because our district, over the past 10 years, has been going through many different leaders at the top. We have an extremely high turnover rate at the administrative level. Weíve had a massive restructuring of the central offices. Itís all been for a good reason, but when you see consistency from the top down it makes a difference. We need to maintain consistency through all the levels and that will be shown in the coaching range.îOne recent change followed the 2012 football season, when Trevor Hudson, Falcon High School head football coach, was not offered an option to extend his contract, said Stephanie Wurtz, D 49 public information officer. Hudson had been with the district for two years, she said.The decision not to offer Hudson a contract extension had nothing to do with the violations he recently received for recruiting, Wurtz said. ìThere was an issue with recruitment and our district stepped in and asked CHSAA (Colorado High School Athletics Association) to give a recommendation,î she said. ìInadvertently, Hudson had violated some of the CHSAA rules. He said, ëHey, Iím sorry. I didnít intend to violate the rule.í CHSAA recommended that he be suspended for two games.îWurtz said that CHSAA also directed the district to put in place an improvement plan to help avoid similar situations in the future. ìThat violation wasnít brought up specifically when his contract renewal was being discussed,î she said.Hahn said he can credit some of the head coach turnover issues to the fact that D 49 is still an up and coming district in athletics. ìTen to 15 years ago when we were smaller, dynamic head coaches would use a smaller district like us as a stepping stone to reaching more high-profile districts,î he said. ìNow, these guys that are coaching high-profile sports like basketball and football are always looking for high-profile programs so they will stay here.îAmidst rumors of the districtís propensity for hiring externally rather than promoting from the assistant coaches already on board, Hahn said, ìMy philosophy is if we have someone in the program already and they are equally qualified (for a head coaching position), they should have the job, but you canít put them in that position just because they are the assistant.ìIf we follow our (hiring) process and we walk our walk and weíre about the kids and whatís best for them, then weíll hire who is best for the kids. We want the best quality people working with the kids. If at all possible and they are equally qualified, you need to reward the people that are already on board. They still need to be the very best qualified person for that position.îHahn said that with the communityís high level of involvement in the athletic programs in D 49, the coaches sometimes donít feel like they are in charge of their team. ìHead coaches in high-profile programs like football need to be perceived as the head of the program,î he said. ìIn some instances, they donít feel they are, and they feel tremendous pressure from the community.ìThereís a lot of strength in having really good community involvement. People want these sports programs, but we have to keep these coaches on board and keep them in their positions. Weíve got to find a way to show these coaches that theyíre in charge so theyíll stay around, and then the high-profile part follows that.îEffective community involvement in athletic programs can begin as early as the hiring process, Hahn said. In instances such as the selection of the new head football coach for Falcon High, a portion of the interviewing process allowed some parents to provide feedback, Wurtz said. ìThere wasnít a clear expectation of their role,î she said. ìThe administration acknowledged that maybe it just wasnít clear the first time around because they thought they would get to pick the coach, but they were truly there to just provide feedback.ìWe want parents to know that we value their input and their feedback but the people who are the experts in our district will be making the selection.î

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