Truly outstanding school district superintendents make genuine and concerted efforts to support sports and athletics because they know much is to be gained from participation, and formal schooling is only a part of a well-rounded education.
Exemplary superintendents also recognize that athletics creates academic motivation partly because most schools require a certain grade point average to participate in high school sports.
High school athletics demand a higher standard of behavior, punishing improper behavior by limiting or halting participation for those not meeting team and school standards.
Years of experience has taught veteran school leaders that high school athletics can be equal to academics in graduating well informed and learned students ready to succeed in the world.
In today’s society there is a huge emphasis in schools on teaching the six pillars of character.
While the pillars can be taught in an Algebra or American History classroom, the best school leaders know sports and athletics are ideal for teaching trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.
A few years ago when Payson was looking for a head football coach, the finest coach in the state, Jesse Parker, desperately wanted the job.
He, however, received no offers from the high school, which, in my mind, is tantamount to refusing to hire Mike Krzyzewski to coach basketball.
Instead of bringing Parker on board, the man selected was a first-year coach with what I believe was very limited knowledge. The result was a dismal 3-7 season filled with mediocrity. Also, the coach resigned that year, forcing yet another search.
A superintendent that valued athletes would have stepped into the hiring process to see what he could contribute as soon as it was obvious Parker had an interest in PHS.
I remember coach Parker scratching his head in disbelief when the Superintendent didn’t even show up for his interview.
Coaches and teachers like Parker come along once in a lifetime and to let him slip through the district’s fingers is a travesty.
Newly appointed PUSD Superintendent Ron Hitchcock has indicated he has a sincere interest in supporting the district’s athletic programs, especially those at Payson High.
Such a commitment would pay huge dividends in building a tradition of quality and creating a future of excellence in the district.
Oops, my bad
My apologies go out to Payson Men’s Golf Association member Tim Ernst for writing that his closest to the in win during a March 14 tournament at Payson Golf Course was for a distance of 7 1/2 feet.
Actually, Ernst — who is the PMGA’s defending closest to the pin champion — hit to within 7 1/2 inches of the hole, which is darn close to an ace.
You’d think a retired teacher that taught math for 37 years wouldn’t make that type of mistake.
But, I did.