Board Rejects Plea For Coaches

Payson Unified School District Office - South entrance

Payson Unified School District Office - South entrance |

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Worried about the district’s liability, Payson High School (PHS) Athletic Director Don Heizer recently asked for additional assistant coach positions for softball and baseball — but the request never got to first base.

“I’m requesting more coaching positions because PHS has areas of liability and concern ... for baseball and softball,” said Heizer at the Feb. 25 meeting.

Heizer told the board that PHS has only one varsity and one junior varsity coach for the baseball and softball teams. He told the board if an emergency happened that required the coach to leave, the team would have no responsible adult on the field.

“All the (sports) programs are not equal with safety,” said Heizer.

Take volleyball for example.

Heizer said because all the teams are on one court, if a coach needs to leave for an emergency, the coach of the other team can step in to help out.

Baseball and softball, on the other hand, are played on fields spread out from each other.

“When they go to games, they go to separate sites,” said Heizer, “You’ve got only one person responsible.”

To fund the extra stipends for teachers who coach, Heizer suggested using creative financing, such as gate and/or club fees and donations. Donations and gate fees already provide almost all the support or the district’s athletic programs.

“When I see five coaches for baseball or three for softball I have a concern,” said board member Jim Quinlan.

“Are these teachers being taken out of the classrooms in the spring during AIMS?”

Heizer said coaches have scheduled practices after the last class in the day. Games have been moved to Saturdays. Heizer felt the changes he was proposing would not affect students’ academics.

Shirley Dye wondered why parent volunteers did not help. “When my daughter played softball, there was a parents group that traveled with the girls,” she said. “Do you not have parent support?”

Heizer said parent volunteers do help, but coaches can’t always rely on having a volunteer available.

Board member Rory Huff cut the discussion short by saying that he could not support Heizer’s request. “We have enough with what we have coming down the road,” he said. “I’m sorry, I just cannot support you.”

Board president Barbara Underwood agreed with Huff and suggested the board would address the issue when it started the budget process in April.

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