Not in the business of covering hot topics or current headlines. But, there a couple newsworthy events that took place in the coaching world over the past week that I thought could be helpful for others climbing the ladder.

If unfamiliar with the situation, first-year head coach at UAFS Jim Boone, had a meeting with a student-athlete and his parents. The family wished to discuss some frustrations with the head coach and recorded the conversation. The audio captured an interaction about hairstyle and program standards, later resulting in the student-athlete deciding to transfer.

I have coached against Jim Boone during my time in the GSC with Christian Brothers. And I won’t pretend to know him on a personal level beyond shaking hands and pleasantries. Therefore, I’m not going to speak on behalf of the situation at UAFS beyond interpreting how we as coaches can envision ourselves in a similar situation. What I can say, is that we have all had to have conversations with individuals or groups that were unpleasant to one side or the other to hear. And when it is simply 1-to-1 there leaves a lot of room for interpretation for semantics versus context.

My first piece of advice . . .

Always have another person in the room.

If you are having a meeting with a stakeholder of your program discussing a sensitive topic, it is likely in your best interest to do two things:

  1. Have someone else familiar with your program – administrator or assistant – in the room
  2. Leave the door open

It is less likely for confrontation to exist when there is the sense that anyone can hear it. And if there were to be an incident to take place, there is the possibility of more witnesses in earshot that can corroborate the story.

This comes to the next consideration for coaches . . .

Act as if you are already being recorded. 

You never know. This just potentially shows it doesn’t matter what level you coach; the proclivity to use technology during adverse circumstances seems to be the preferred outlet for athletes.

The ability to gather your thoughts as opposed to speaking emotionally is becoming a valuable disposition for coaches when it comes to longevity. There has recently been a decision made at the judicial level setting a precedent in supporting scholastic coaches against defamation or slander. At the end of the day, as coaches we have to understand the climate and tendency of today. Be conscientious of communication.

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