This article is provided by Coaches Network
By Dr. David Hoch, CMAA, CIC
To make an athletic team the best it can be, there needs to be synergy between the head and assistant coaches. In many cases, a school’s athletic director is the decision-maker on hiring assistant coaches. But the head coach should play a vital role in the process.
Here are areas to consider when choosing among candidates:
Try to identify individuals who bring different strengths, backgrounds, or expertise to the program. If you are more of a defensive guru, for example, you may want to add someone with experience on the offensive side. This provides better balance and will ultimately help prepare your athletes.
On a similar note, look for someone who can provide needed qualities to the overall effort. If you are loud and demonstrative, for example, it might be good to have an individual who is more subdued and will be a calming presence for the athletes. Or, if you lack organizational skills, it would be good to have an assistant who has no problem submitting eligibility forms and completing end-of-season reports.
Determine if potential assistants will be loyal and fit into your coaching philosophy. While it is good to get new ideas and input from your coaching staff, once a decision has been reached, a unified front has to be maintained with athletes and in public.
Put at the top of your list those individuals who are dependable and committed. It is absolutely essential that assistants will always be on time for practice sessions, staff meetings, and scouting assignments. While an occasional emergency may develop with any person, assistants have to meet their assignments and commitments in order for the team to function successfully.
Definitely look for assistant coaches who believe in and will support the concept of education-based athletics. While striving to win is a vital part of athletics, the growth, development, and welfare of the student-athlete is ultimately much more important. Assistants need to be positive, nurturing, and supportive.
Bring aboard only those individuals who can serve as role models to students. All coaches need to exhibit sportsmanship and serve as positive examples.
Whatever the hiring process is at your school, make sure you have input into the final decision. Determine all candidates’ strengths and weaknesses and think about how each might potentially fit on your staff and within the school community. Also, don’t forget to check with former head coaches, supervisors, and colleagues of these individuals in order to gain additional information and perspectives.