Ann Arbor Public Schools explores coach professional development after football brawl
District officials at Ann Arbor Public Schools have started to explore options for coach professional development through the Michigan High School Athletic Association in the wake of an on-field football brawl between Huron and Pioneer.
Danielle Arndt | AnnArbor.com
CAP is an in-service coaches training program with six levels of certification. It was started in the 2007-08 school year and since its launch, nearly 12,000 coaches have completed at least one level of the program, said MHSAA Assistant Director Kathy Westdorp.
“The program deals with all of the things outside of the Xs and Os,” said MHSAA spokesman John Johnson. “Sportsmanship, liability, how to run a good practice — we get into a lot of good advice.”
Coaching philosophies, state regulations, effective instruction, sports medicine and First-Aid all are covered in the first session, Westdorp said. The sessions typically last seven hours, with six hours of training.
Westdorp said the MHSAA has been in discussions with Ann Arbor school officials about CAP, as well as about the district’s plan for restoring and improving the schools’ athletic programs post-brawl. She said there have been talks about hosting a CAP session in the Ann Arbor area.
CAP often is conducted in conjunction with an event, such as the Michigan Inter-scholatic Athletic Administrators Association Conference, which will be held in March in Traverse City, Johnson said. He added the MHSAA also receives calls from districts throughout the state about traveling to their schools to host the staff trainings.
District spokeswoman Liz Margolis said Ann Arbor’s athletic directors are looking into this possibility and “pricing it out.”
“Many of our coaches go through this program already,” Margolis said. Exactly how many was not available.
“Generally, our head varsity coaches are the ones who’ve done it. But we’d like to be able to expand this and enroll coaches at the JV and freshman level and have assistant coaches go through the program as well.”
However, Davis’ response to the official referee report from the Oct. 12 game shows that Huron coach Cory Gildersleeve was not CAP certified. Information on whether Pioneer coach Paul Test received any CAP training was not immediately available.
Johnson said each CAP session costs $60 per coach, so for the full 36-hour program it would cost $360 per coach.
Margolis said the district is looking at a target timeframe of early 2013-14 for expanding the district’s CAP offerings.
Margolis said other than this professional development, the district is not doing anything different. The athletic directors still are conducting their pre-season coaches meetings, however, etiquette that previously was relayed as a reminder is being stressed more heavily, she said.
“We’re reiterating expectations. Obviously, this is acutely on everyone’s plate,” she said, adding there is a heightened awareness to the rules and regulations.
Margolis described the on-field brawl as somewhat of an anomaly.
“We haven’t had those kind of issues before and that doesn’t mean we won’t ever again see something like that, but we’re using this opportunity to make sure everyone knows what the expectations are again and this will be ongoing and continuing hopefully through additional professional development.”
Along with coaches participating in CAP, also on Davis’ list for moving forward was:
- Meeting with the entire football program to review the situation
- Letters of apology from the coaches to their team members and parents
- Joint coaches and captains meetings with both schools
- Joint community service projects (Salvation Army, Alpha House, etc.)
- Joint cleanups on each school's property
- Captains message to AnnArbor.com
- Sportsmanship summits
Items one through five have been completed. Margolis said the captains still are drafting and considering a possible letter to the community via AnnArbor.com. Sportsmanship summits, which are for students, also are conducted through the MHSAA. Margolis said the athletic directors are thinking about this for the next school year as well.
Johnson said often team captains are sent to the annual Sportsmanship Summit. However, sometimes underclassmen attend to build a legacy of leadership on a team.
"The kids can come in and get the kind of training that they can take back out to their schools ... to help get out the word," he said. "Depending on the timing, some sports may send kids who are juniors ... and who can carry the message forward into the program."