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Hampshire High School Students Deserve Experienced, Professional, Skilled Athletic Coaches

This petition had 124 supporters

This petition has been created by and for the students, families, friends, and staff members that have been affected by employees of the HHS coaching staff.  Each individual signing this petition is asking the Hampshire County Board of Education to reevaluate the current positions of the HHS coaching staff and to open the positions for application.  This would ensure during the hiring process if an existing coach applies they are not only evaluated based on past performance but also compared to the experience of other applicants.  HHS student athletes deserve to have experienced, respectful, dedicated coaches so that teams can excel in their skills and enjoy their chosen sport.

The decisions of some (not all) existing HHS coaches regarding what is best for the team, school, and individual students were greatly questioned this year.  Some coaches unfortunately ran their season unprofessionally, unorganized, and disregarded direction given by HHS administration on several occasions.  The following are examples to support this information.  Additional information with specifics can be provided if needed to further validate these claims.

1.  Favoritism to specific team members was given throughout the season.  Only those that were family members, well known by popularity, or simply students favorited by a coach were given opportunities on the team to excel regardless of skill level.

2.  Discussion of confidential team member matters with other team members, at times alternating facts, which then created a division among the team/students on several occasions.  One coach in particular was witnessed not only ignoring team members gossiping about each other, but went as far to partake in the hurtful behavior.  As a coach to what should have been a TEAM of young men and women, this taught these athletes that it is acceptable to disrespect and put down others.  Team members should behave as a family and have each other’s back…if not, how do we function as a successful team?

3.  Degraded individuals based on their skill rather than providing the guidance they needed to become better athletes.  During practices of at least one particular sport, athletes with less skill level or that the coach simply did not like sat on the bench and watched as other team members practiced.  This is no way to coach a team, let alone what was considered a VARSITY. 

5.  Continuous disrespect and unprofessionalism to the school principal, athletic director, parents, athletes, and mascot on several occasions by not following guidance given by HHS administration.  During some parent meetings certain coaches were rolling their eyes and went as for to storm out of principal/parent meetings behaving as a child rather than an adult in these situations.  Treating athletes with an extremely rude and disrespectful manner, each specific example can be formally given to validate this information, some of which should already be on record based on meetings with school principal.

6.  Inaccurate understanding and statement of guidelines/rules provided by WVSSAC in order to compromise team positions.  There are records in which one particular coach discouraged one a student athlete to attend a Board of Education approved trip by stating that if this student attended the approved trip they would be removed from their position on the team.

7.  Practice, game, event schedules changed on several occasions and at times with little to no notice.  At times, coaches did not provide guidance to the athletes regarding meals prior to leaving for away games.  This resulted in some students not having dinner until they arrived back at HHS at 1:30 AM after an away game.  These athletes are still our children and this is unacceptable. 

At times, some coaches instructed students to stay after school for home games, however coaches were not at the school to provide supervision of the students.   Also, throughout the year practices were changed and students that rode the activity bus would many times be left to roam the school while awaiting the bus because notice was not given prior. 

8.  Practices for sports required for specific events were not adequately provided.  If practice for a sport begins three months prior to the events that leads that sport getting a state title, why would a coach wait until the athletes had less than 30 days to prepare for the event to begin practice?  These practices should have started week one to ensure the athletes were ready and equipped to perform at their best abilities. 

In some sports, the assistant coaches have a better skillset and expertise to coach the team.  At times, assistant coaches’ decisions were undermined by the head coach due to favoritism.

9.  Unrealistic expectations of student athletes.  Some coaches expected new athletes learn about their chosen sport by watching videos at home after regular practices.  One sport in particular required the athletes to learn double what other state titled schools would require, perhaps if more time was focused on what was needed to bring a state title to HHS versus what is not HHS athletes would have a better chance at earning scholarships and titles.  This is challenging as a STUDENT athlete when practices are daily until the evening and some students live 45 minutes to an hour from the school.  The students also needed time to focus on academics and as children need rest time prior to returning to school the following day and going through the same routine.

10.  Requirement to attend additional practice outside of school to excel in sport in locations such as Keyser, WV.  The students were expected to figure out their own transportation to and from these practices.  The students were told this was not a requirement, however they were reprimanded if they did not attend. 

11.  In some sports, coaches did not provide contact phone numbers for communication with athletes or parents.  Only communication through Facebook was permitted. 

12.  Some sports required athletes purchase specific clothing items (some totaling over $300), however required a separate dress code on game days and did not utilize clothing items that were mandated to be ordered.  To enforce a separate dress code for game days and threaten repercussions if the athletes did not comply in a school district that is considered low income is not practical.   

Overall, some current coaches blatantly ran the team as they saw fit, disregarding instruction provided by HHS administration and policies.  Some treated the team so poorly that five or more students left the team because of the ongoing behavior they were exposed to.  Numerous students have been athletes years prior and wanted to continue in their chosen sport at HHS but chose not to because of the coach and previous issues with their behavior.  Our students deserve an experienced, skilled, MATURE coach that will fairly evaluate and make decisions for the entire team.  They deserve to be treated with respect regardless of any situation, and should be taught as young men and women to respect each other and participate as a TEAM.  They deserve to enjoy and excel in the sport of their choosing without the uncalled for drama and ridicule.  A coach's role should not only be to instruct the team, but also to be a role model...unfortunately some of the current coaches are not capable of either.  

PLEASE REEVALUATE EXISTING COACHES and replace those that are not conducting themselves as they should for their team with a leader and role model these students deserve.

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