Board Forces Athletic Directors To Choose Between Jobs

January 13, 2012 / Athletic AdministrationFootballSoccer, Mike Lamberti

Chris Olsen has a decision to make. The Wayne Hills athletic director and head football coach must relinquish one of his job titles on or before July 1.

The ultimatum was set in place by the Wayne Board of Education, and also affects Wayne Valley athletic director Dan Kilday, who currently serves as the boys’ soccer coach there.

In essence, the board approved policy now prohibits administrators from participating in coaching athletics or supervising extracurricular activities.

Olsen, who has been the head football coach at Wayne Hills since 1987, acknowledged his decision won’t be easy, citing his love for both positions.

“Two years ago, I was named the new athletic director,” Olsen said on Tuesday. “Everyone knew then that I was the football coach. This didn’t exactly sneak up on them. But now, I have to make a decision.

“Let’s just say this, I love my job as athletic director, and I love coaching the kids at Wayne Hills. Before I make my final decision though, I have to give it some serious thought.”

The board’s decision came on the heels of the now well documented evening of Oct. 29, when nine Wayne Hills football players allegedly attacked two Wayne Valley students following a party at a home in Wayne. Olsen received a great deal of public criticism, through the media, for his handling of the aftermath, and noted a number of media reports which said Olsen was, in essence, his own boss.

“There seems to be the perception that I’m my own boss, and that’s not true,” Olsen said. “I report to the principal of Wayne Hills High School and my performance is evaluated on a daily basis, like all supervisors. I have excellent evaluations for my job as athletic director. Everyone has a boss and everyone is accountable.”

Olsen was criticized for not benching the players after the alleged altercation, something the coach scoffs at.

“I stand behind my decisions 100 percent,” Olsen said. “I was told by the Interim Superintendent Michael Roth that benching those kids would have legal ramifications. Now that superintendent, making $800 a day, rides off into the sunset and the new superintendent (Raymond Gonzalez) has to deal with the repercussions? You tell me? If I’m told by my supervisor not to play someone, am I going to overrule it? Of course not. We, as a coaching staff, had contingencies in place with, or without those players in all subsequent games (following Oct. 29).”

Olsen’s words rang true, considering that when the nine players were ultimately ruled out for Wayne Hills’ championship game at MetLife Stadium on Dec. 3, the Patriots still won the title, defeating Old Tappan, 15-12.

“I did what I was told to do,” Olsen said. “When I was told those players could not be benched because of what happened, those kids played. When I was told they weren’t going to play in the championship game, we went forward with the players we had.”

Calls to Kilday were not returned by press time Tuesday afternoon. Superintendent Gonzalez was out of the district Tuesday and also could not be reached.

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