Best Practices for Hiring and Evaluating Coaches

Best Practices for Hiring and Evaluating Coaches

Hiring new staff for an established athletic department is hard work. Bringing a new person into the fold isn’t an easy decision, but it’s one that often falls onto the shoulders of the Athletic Director. It’s important to find someone who fits the team and shares the school’s mission. For both hiring and evaluating new coaches and evaluating existing coaches, there are steps to take to ensure the process is as seamless as possible. Read these guidelines before making your next staffing decision. This helps guarantee that only the most qualified coaches are considered for positions at CNAA schools.

The process of hiring a new coach

Meeting the demands of an increasingly competitive and rapidly changing educational and athletic landscape require all athletic coaches to complete every step of the hiring process:

    1. Review progress reports from the previous year to determine whether the athletic program has achieved benchmarks.
    2. Determine new benchmarks and objectives for the upcoming year.
    3. Use the resulting needs assessment to identify qualifications for new coaching staff.
    4. Review changes in laws and regulations that affect high school and college athletic programs.
    5. Convene a committee to establish common goals; interviewing and hiring procedures; scoring sheets for interviews; and roles and responsibilities.

Questions to ask during interviews

Professional job interviews share common traits. For example, all applicants in any job interview must be able to present education and experience that proves they are qualified for the position. However, the interview must determine not only whether the candidate meets the minimum requirements; but also whether he or she is the best candidate for the position.

    1. Cover the interview basics:
      1. Ask for an introduction.
      2. Ask the candidate to share how past education and experience qualify them for the position.
      3. Ask why the candidate wants to work in a Catholic high school athletic department.
    2. Ask questions that will help you determine whether this candidate’s experience make them exceptional:
      1. How do your qualifications set you apart from other candidates for this position? Give specific examples.
      2. If we hire you, what will you do as a coach that will lead to success for our athletics program?
      3. Give specific examples illustrating how your approach to coaching will lead to success.
      4. What changes in high school and collegiate athletics in the past year do you consider most important? How will you address them as a coach?
      5. How does your background recommend you for a position with a CNAA school?

What to look for (experience, qualities, etc.)

During the planning stages, the committee should have developed interview scoring sheets. Use the scoring sheet to take notes during the interview. You should consider whether new candidates possess any of the following skills or qualities:

    1. The candidate can demonstrate a winning record in previous coaching assignments.
    2. The candidate can demonstrate a record of satisfying the concerns of parents, communities, and school administrations.
    3. The candidate can demonstrate that he or she has developed positive relationships among students, faculty, and athletes.
    4. The candidate can demonstrate success beyond the scope of coaching, such as in fundraising; public relations; recruitment and alumni relations; budgeting; and human resources.

Tips for making good decisions

Hiring an athletics coach has taken on greater significance in recent years. Making good hiring decisions requires that you refrain from using subjective or personal goals or preferences as a means of selecting a candidate. Use the following tools and guidelines during the selection process:

  1. Ensure all candidates you have interviewed meet the minimum requirements established by local, state, and national laws for accreditation and employment.
  2. Ensure all candidates meet the minimum requirements established by the school.
  3. Eliminate all candidates who do not meet these minimum requirements.
  4. Form teams to assess remaining candidates.
  5. Use interview scoring sheets to rank remaining candidates.
  6. Return results to the committee to determine a short list.

Finding a person who fits the Catholic school culture

The “culture of winning” is not only part of athletics, but also part of academics and part of business. To some degree, all students and athletes are expected to perform within this framework. A qualified candidate for a coaching position with a CNAA school must demonstrate the ability to go above and beyond this limited paradigm:

  1. The successful candidate will not regard a successful athletics program as the goal of a school, but rather as one component of a successful educational environment.
  2. The successful candidate should not regard “winning” as an end result, but as a means to an end.
  3. The successful candidate will not equate “winning” with success—either in the academic environment, the athletic environment, or the business environment.
  4. The successful candidate will demonstrate his or her understanding that success in business, in athletics, and in academics are all components that lead to true success. True success results when fully developed human beings who value the well-being of their communities, of the general interest, and of the world we all inhabit view their success in athletics, business, or academics as an opportunity to further this goal.