Coach's Corner: Tim Crone 9/7

Tim Crone

By Tim Crone former Blue Springs Athletic Director
Posted: September 7, 2012 - 7:10 AM

Now that high school fall sports are under way athletes, coaches, parents and fans will spend the next three months analyzing every play.
As I listened to area high school coaches (of all sports) this summer it was apparent that it is more and more difficult to coach at the high school level. The problems have escalated for the past fifteen years.
In the beginning I thought the lack of respect for coaches would just be a phase. Unfortunately it has become worse instead of better. I have asked why over and over. There are many answers given but a couple seem to be universal.
The primary reason given is that most high school athletes now play on competition, AAU, and elite teams. Most of the coaches of these teams are truly dedicated but they are so focused on their own program that they have lost respect for the high school program and coaches.
I understand that high school coaches need to earn respect, however, criticism of them from another coach can easily poison the minds of young athletes. I have heard enough to write a book of the stories of outside coaches undermining high school programs.
Another factor that is playing into the lack of respect in high school programs is the superior athletes who decline playing for the high school team altogether in order to play for an elite team year round. They are sold on the idea that they will receive better coaching particularly in the sports of both girls and boys basketball and soccer.
Softball, volleyball and baseball are not far behind. Non-sanctioned (by state athletic associations) schools are even around that serve as an institution to channel elite basketball players into “meat on the hoof” objects. The theory being that high school sports are not needed...that have a significantly better chance of reaching the world of professional sports.
I would like to site a statistic – only one percent of high school athletes actually make it to the pro level. As a young athletic director, 39 years ago, I was given interesting information by Gerald Linneman. Gerald was the athletic director at Parkway School District in St. Louis. An award is given each year in his name, the Lifetime Achievement Award in High School Athletics for the State of Missouri. He told me he predicted that the biggest threat to high school sports and coaches would come from outside – that’s right it was evident to him nearly four decades ago. He was right on.
My quote this week is from NFL great, Jim Brown, “One thing I learned in football is that you must have respect. It is not so important that people like you, but is an absolute must that you have their respect.”
Tim Crone is the former Head Football Coach and Athletic Director at Blue Springs High School.