Kevin Flegner: Scoring the performance of coaches
While wins and losses are always a component at the varsity level, Arrowhead Union High School (Wisconsin) Athletic Director Kevin Flegner emphasizes that winning percentage isn’t a fair metric. Coaches must play the hand they’re dealt.
“Despite what people think, recruiting doesn’t happen in our world,” says Flegner. “Even with open enrollment, it’s not a practical reality.”Here is the criterion Flegner uses in evaluating his coaches:
- Continuous improvement. “The biggest factor for me is whether the team improved from day one to the end of the year,” he says. “It’s not just wins and losses, but also whether their play, team chemistry, attitude and involvement in the community improve over the course of the year.”
- Organization matters. Flegner says today’s coach must be a skilled and organized manager that oversees all the details, including game schedules, gym schedules, calling in scores, keeping statistics and all other logistics. “They have to be organized, and they have to enjoy all those elements of the job. It’s not enough to just want to coach the players and teach the Xs and Os.”
- No surprises. “No A.D. likes surprises. I want my coaches to be proactive and give me a heads up before that element of surprise sets in.”
- Adapt & change. The landscape is ever-changing, and today’s coaches have a lot more at their disposal. “You can break down film and you can email it to your players. It’s crazy how much sports have evolved, but you need to be able to evolve with it. You can’t fight change.”
Because the principal and superintendent evaluate Flegner on the athletic department’s adherence to the code of conduct, he needs all coaches operating from the same page. “Of course, we want to minimize the complaints and problems associated with the program,” he says. “But you do that by hiring qualified, well-rounded individuals who understand the dynamic of what a high school program is all about.”