East Texas school districts facing coaching shortage

East Texas school districts facing coaching shortage
Published: Jul. 8, 2022 at 9:56 PM CDT
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LUFKIN, Texas (KLTV) - There is a shortage of teachers across the state and that shortage in the classroom is spilling over into the athletic departments of school districts.

There are still plenty of coaching vacancies across the state with school just a month away from being back in session. A quick scan of the Texas High School Coaches Association job board shows over 200 job postings since July 4. Some of those could be repeat postings so it is unclear how many active job openings there are across the state but the fact is there is a need for high school coaches.

As of Friday afternoon, Lufkin ISD had nine coaching positions listed on the school website. Eight of those could be hired from the outside of the district but one is set for an internal hire. The only head coaching jobs open are the head swim coach and head cheer coach.

“It has been a struggle for everybody right now,” Lufkin ISD Athletic Director. “The thing we are fighting right now is the 45 day rule. We are inside of that for most schools and people don’t have to let people out of their contracts.”

The 45 day rule means that teachers can not resign from their contract once a district is 45 days out from the start of the school year.

The issue is not just at large schools. In San Augustine, Athletic Director Tory Barnes is dealing with the shortage. The district currently has four football coaches. Barnes has three assistant openings right now and could possibly be having a female assistant job open up.

“As far as the fall right now we have all of our head positions filled,” Barnes said. “It will get hard in the spring when we are spread thin.”

The biggest hurdle schools face in the hiring process is the coaches being certified in the classroom. Each position comes with a teaching assignment. With so many openings at Lufkin, Quick said there is some wiggle room to flip class room responsibilities between the various coaching positions.

“They are hired as a teacher first and a coach second,” Quick said. “You have to be able to match them up.”

Barnes said advice he would give to college athletes looking to teach after their playing days would be to consider what your degree path is.

“A lot of young kids now coming out of college just want to get a Kinesiology degree and when you get that Kinesiology degree it is very hard to get hired because P.E. teachers do not leave.”

Despite the shortage both Barnes and Quick say that there are no plans to shutdown any specific extracurriculars and that if needed coaches will adjust.

“Last year we had our district CFO step up and be an assistant baseball coach,” Barnes said. “If it takes me to be an assistant for a sport or two then I will do what I have to do.”

“Coaches might have to double up and coach more than what they signed up for. Someone is going to coach that team.”

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