Hiring and Evaluating Interscholastic Athletics Professionals
If you’re looking for a career that can provide excitement and fulfillment, you should explore the world of interscholastic athletics. As a coach or athletic administrator, you have the unique opportunity to positively impact young athletes. You can help them hone skills, build confidence, and become an asset to their team. But your role doesn’t end there. You’re also required to uphold the legal and ethical standards set by your school and any relevant sport-specific governing bodies.
Discover Your Role in Athletic Administration
As an athletic administrator, you supervise one of the most highly visible and heavily analyzed elements of a school community. Middle school and high school athletic programs can garner a lot of attention, requiring you to support the needs of your student athletes, your school and the community at large. Even further, you are responsible for the safety and wellbeing of your athletes. It’s your job to provide an appropriate and enriching environment in which your students can learn and excel. As part of the athletics team, you will also collaborate to create a mission statement that aligns with the vision and values set by your school.
Get to Know Your Legal Obligations
From your duty to plan to your duty to protect, there are many legal responsibilities associated with coaching and managing interscholastic sports teams. You may be asked to: create injury-prevention plans, organize annual medical screenings, supply proper equipment, comply with insurance coverage, promote emergency preparedness, facilitate team transportation, or train other coaches.
Understand the Importance of Ethics
Dynamic education is the foundation on which successful athletics program are built. A strong education-based foundation supports your ability to create an enriching, enlightening, and cooperative learning environment—one that allows you to maintain high ethical standards.
How do your ethics (your values and principles) translate into your day-to-day actions? They help you fulfill your coaching and administrative duties with honesty, reliability, and an unwavering commitment to equality and unity. They allow you to maintain professional integrity at all times—whether you’re communicating face-to-face or online. They fuel your ability to continuously improve the athletics programs under your purview.
Learn More about Certification Requirements
Each state has its own laws, pre-service and professional development requirements. Some states may require safety training prerequisites, while others may ask you to go through a school-specific training program. For example, the state of Maryland mandates that all coaches must be certified professional educators or teachers.
What does this mean for you? It means that if you’re considering a career in interscholastic sports, you should absolutely research the requirements specific to the state in which you want to work. Doing so will help you understand what steps you need to take – and what educational requirements you need to meet – in order to qualify for a position.
Consider the Hiring Process
While hiring procedures vary from school to school, the process usually involves the following:
- School or district posts a notice (on the web or in the newspaper) to outline available positions.
- School receives applications and resumes in response to job postings, and the applicable staff members review the information internally.
- Selected applicants will be contacted by the school’s athletic director, principal, or superintendent in order to set an interview.
The interview and selection criteria will always vary; at minimum, most schools will look at:
- Previous work experience
- Level of education (degrees of training)
- Ability to communicate effectively with students, parents, and colleagues
- Overall attitude and level of enthusiasm
Stand Out with a Strong Evaluation
Coaches and athletic administrators are generally evaluated on an annual basis. The goal is straightforward: a personal assessment aims to ensure that you’re still well qualified for your position and contributing to the overall growth and success of your school’s athletic program.
Generally speaking, your direct supervisor will start the evaluation process – which should include a self-appraisal (this is where you can review your own coaching techniques, communication skills, attitude, ethics). Some schools may also ask you to submit a multi-year plan to demonstrate your future goals.
CoachFore.org. (2014, April 22). Retrieved May 16, 2015, from:
NIAAA Code of Ethics. (2015). Retrieved May 16, 2015, from:
Healthy Schools. (2015). Retrieved May 16, 2015, from: