Digging deep: rising rates of outside coaches and how they bring expertise


Photo by Photo used with the permission of https://www.usafa.af.mil/News/Features/Display/Article/429677/player-development-starts-with-officer-development/

A football coach times students as they run laps on the football field. More and more outside coaches are being hired to fill coaching sports that would usually be filled by teachers due to rising expectations for educators.

Marissa Drake, Staff Writer

An athletes future is heavily dependent on the performance of not only themselves but that of their coaches as well. How much a coach pushes an athlete to go past their physical and mental limits can make or break how far that athlete goes in the world of sports.

It’s important to have these qualities in coaches on the high school level to provide a ‘world class experience’ for the athletes at Lake Zurich High School, according to Andrew Lambert, Athletic Director. While many in school coaches can provide those certain qualifications and more, the rising expectations for teachers can often make it difficult for teachers to find time to coach these teams and is the biggest reason why outside coaches are being recruited to fill these jobs, according to Lambert.

“There is a large time commitment that goes along with being a coach and there has been an increase in expectation for what teachers are supposed to be doing. So, doing both jobs well is a challenge, like time management.” Lambert said. “ Many of our coaches have families at home that they don’t want to take away from being with, which I certainly agree with, it can often make it a challenge. While, with some other professions, you have the ability to not have as high expectation of work to do outside of the regular work day which allows you to coach.”

While it may seem that other reasons may influence this spike in outside coaches coming into the school, when asked Lambert stated that ‘no’, no past incidents in the athletic department have caused this rise of outside involvement in LZHS’s athletic program.

While in school, coaches have the ability to understand the “social dynamic” and build strong bonds with students outside of practice, according to Lambert. Outside coaches like Michael Byrd, JV Tennis Coach from outside of the district, can often bring professional athletic experience to the table.

“I have what is called a Tennis Masters, or a Masters of Tennis performance, and that I gotten through my certification which is called the PTR, and the PTR is an acronym for Professional Tennis Registry,” Byrd said. “Of the masters of tennis, there are now 104 coaches, not in the country, but in the world, who possess this posses degree.” 

“Lake Zurich is not a school known for their tennis, that just happens to be a fact.” Byrd said. “ I think [that] their goal  was to bring in coaches from the outside to help increase the presence of tennis at Lake Zurich and I think that has been the main focal point.”

Even students like Amanda Gilmore, sophomore, can see what these outside coaches can bring to teams.

“Yeah, there was this one coach [Jamie Groot], who coached girls JV basketball, I’m pretty sure she was from outside the school […] I wasn’t personally on her team but I would see her working with them and they really improved with her being the coach.” Gilmore said.

“Many of our staff have discussed that when they teach an Advanced Placement [AP] or Honors level courses, that the amount of grading and preparation for those classes is a considerable amount of time […] Which they then have to balance with a personal life, and with coaching, every year there seems to be more and more added to the plate for our coaching staff […] to excel in those sports, that there can be an imbalance.” Lambert said. “ I think that because of those factors it makes it really difficult to be a full time teacher, especially at a high level, and be a full time coach […] that’s my opinion [on why so many outside coaches are being brought into the school].”