I am not as concerned about the coaching registry (that is a fact of life in 2010) as much as others are, what I am concerned about is the lack of respect and understanding for the Coaching Education program that has been in place and working successfully since 1984. Here is Stephanie Hightower’s, USATF President and Chair, response on why a director of coaching was named:
“One of the reasons for hiring a Director of Coaching was to give American coaches the voice in the organization that they often felt they lacked. With proper staffing in place, our Board of Directors issued a directive to the National Office to devise a “certification” plan for coaches.”
This is very revealing. First of all it confirms that coaches have not been a priority in USATF, a fact known to us all. Apparently they did not even know they had a coaching education program in place. I won’t comment or argue about the choice of the person chosen as Director of Coaching because that gets into personalities, but I think the selection process should have been more transparent and thorough. It all smells very political to me, like ‘lets toss the coaches a bone.’ What really upsets me to no end is the directive “to devise a “certification” plan for coaches.” What have we been doing the last 26 years? Many of us worked tirelessly to develop and grow this program and to have the administration and board summarily reject all the work that has been done by a group of dedicated individuals is a real travesty. What about all of you who have been certified? Where do you stand? What does your certificate mean? Don’t let these political animals’ fool you, they don’t care about coaches or coaching, just look at the history of the organization. I think is time for the USOC to look closely at USATF and see if they really represent the sport in the US.