Former Payson High School wrestling coach Casey Woodall’s letter of explanation on the reasons he’s leaving PHS in favor of Morenci High was an eye-opener to those unaware of the tremendous financial demands PHS coaches are working under.
The coach’s letter appeared in the June 4 “Extra Points” column.
Woodall wrote of a concern I’ve heard over and over from coaches the past few years. It’s that coaches, “are faced with the unreal expectation of fund-raising up to $20,000 to pay for uniforms, travel expenses entry fees, coaches’ salaries… all the while working a full-time teaching job and finding time to coach on the side.”
This week, I reached out to some other coaches around the state — some retired — and almost all said they would not coach under those conditions.
They also expressed shock and disbelief that such demands are heaped on PHS coaches.
One retired coach asked, “How does Payson keep any of its coaches?”
Coach Woodall also hit a nerve with most when he wrote, “We are also tasked with talking kids into paying a $250 sports fee… only to find out they will now have to fund-raise for all the things previously mentioned (including coaches’ salaries).”
PHS coaches, like most all others around the state, are not in favor of pay-to-play fees.
But with the state of today’s economy, maybe they are necessary. However, when the district heaps fund-raising on top of pay-to-play fees, it puts a double whammy on student athletes, their parents and coaches.
From what we know about coach Woodall’s move to Morenci, he will not be asked to fund-raise for his salary at the school, which removes a heavy burden allowing teachers to teach and coaches to coach.
Not much time passes each school year that I don’t receive an e-mail from a disgruntled PHS coach upset with the demands of the job.
I’d like to say, take your concerns to a higher administrator or school board member, but I know most are afraid to do so and I completely understand why.
Recent changes in tenure, retention and hiring laws have wiped away about every employment protection teachers once had.
All it takes is an upset top-level administrator to take a bead on a teacher, and he or she could be gone at the end of the school year.
So, the beat goes on.
Coaches are frustrated, but they shy away from taking their concerns to the higher-ups, turning instead to an old coach who writes a newspaper column.
An e-mail I received this week from a PHS coach says, “I would love to see a story on why Payson continues to lose good, young coaches.”
It’s obvious why they’re leaving, but little is being done about it and coaches are convinced very few of the higher-ups care about their frustrations.
And since the suggestion to raid pay-to-play fees, Credit for Kids and club accounts came from a school board member, coaches question some board members’ priorities.
The Payson Sprint Triathlon is this Saturday, June 8, starting at 7 a.m. at Taylor Pool. It includes a 500-yard swim; a 14-mile bike ride; and a 5k.
Check with the parks office, (928) 474-5242, ext. 7, for registration information.
Want a laugh or two? Stop by Rumsey Park any weeknight and watch some T-Ball. Those little guys might not have a handle on the fundamentals yet, but they know all about fun — and you can share it.