Football must return to WHS
Times have changed. And this time that is not a good thing.
There will be no cheering fans to spur on the Whittell High School football team to another postseason berth. This is because there is no football. No freshman team. No junior varsity team. No varsity team.
Injuries and lack of interest to field a team with the depth to compete in the NIAA 2A Division are the reasons being given.
They are valid reasons, but clearly something else is going on. The class of 2003 had four coaches in as many years. Principals are another authority figure the school is unable to hang on to.
It is time for serious scrutiny of this school in Zephyr Cove. Even the students are leaving. Three students left this week to play football at area schools that actually field a team.
Douglas County School District has a policy that precludes administrators from coaching. This includes deans and athletic directors. The reason according to Rich Alexander, assistant superintendent for human resources, is that those individuals need to be available to supervise the same events they would be coaching.
Whittell has a principal and then a dean who acts as the athletic director. Oftentimes more than one event happens at a time which would necessitate both to do crowd control. It is the spectators whom they monitor, while the coach supervises the athletes.
Technically anyone who is certified to teach can coach — which would include administrator types. Why not recruit teachers, who under most contracts must attend a certain number of extracurricular events, to be supervisors? This could free up someone in the front office who wants to coach.
The district is rumored to have hired a teacher with a doctorate a few years back over a candidate with less education who could coach three sports. The hire lasted one year. Let’s be honest, it does not take a doctorate to teach high school.
Even though Alexander said it is a teacher on staff whom the district prefers to hire as a coach, the last two coaches of the Warrior football team have not been on staff. One commuted from Carson City, the other from Reno.
It would take a lengthy process for Whittell to petition the NIAA to be dropped to the 1A Division. Right now it has about 240 students, while the maximum for the lower division is 169. The status would affect most sports. Right now the soccer team competes in the 3A Division because most 1A and 2A schools do not have teams.
One has to wonder if the demand of other sports is taking its toll on Whittell’s ability to have a full football roster. To play on the school’s baseball team it is an unwritten rule that players must participate in fall ball.
Whatever happened to the three-sport player? Why are we allowing — or forcing — these youngsters to focus on one sport? The numbers prove that it is a shot in the dark for any of them to reach the professional ranks. Why not allow them to enjoy their high school years being involved in as many things as they can?
With the demise of the football program comes the added disappointment of the band and cheerleading programs. What a loss. Homecoming and no football. It is a travesty.
One can only hope that when officials say they plan to reinstate football next year, that they mean it. A high school without football is like winter without snow — no fun.