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Help wanted: Little Flower seeks coaches for fall sports

Megan LoMastro enjoyed her first season playing tennis last year at Little Flower. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

What a mess!

Little Flower High School is replacing longtime athletic director Adam Buchter, who resigned at the end of the school year. But they’re not stopping there. The brass has decided to make all coaches reapply for their job, according to principal Colette Weber.

On the diocese’s website, on top of the athletic director job posting, the school is seeking coaches for its volleyball, cross country, tennis, field hockey and soccer teams.

All are confusing, but the soccer one really stands out considering Markos Pittaoulis has been the girls soccer coach since 1987.

The principal said the new athletic director should have the ability to pick their team. She said she’s new to the archdiocese, having joined the school in the past year, but it’s been that way in other places.

It might have been, but it’s something I’ve never heard of.

I’m not sure why the new athletic director is going to be afforded the respect of selecting their team, while a guy who has coached the soccer team since 1987 is being left to dangle in the wind until the person new to the school makes their decision.

And he’s coming off an undefeated season. Yeah, he went 1-0 in the spring, but it was the school’s decision to play in the fall, so Little Flower didn’t really have a soccer season in 2020-2021.

Weber didn’t tell me if the winter and spring coaches would have to reapply for their job, but it would make sense that they do.

A lot of this is strange.

Applicants have until July 21 to apply for the job, according to the listing. Even if they pick a new administrator on that day, you have to think it will take some time to interview candidates for every fall sport. Practice starts in mid-August, so that will be a quick turnaround.

Then you have to factor in that this might be the most important summer ever for training. Every coach will tell you this summer is very busy because nobody had a normal season last year. The pandemic cut them short. It’s even worse for the Sentinels, who decided to not play sports last fall. If you’re a rising senior at Little Flower, it has to be deflating. Junior year was a mess and senior year isn’t shaping up too well this summer.

It’s bad for the kids, but it’s truly unfair to the coaches.

The Sentinels have won bowling and golf championships in recent years. They won a swimming title a few years back, and I remember a soccer championship a decade or so ago. In most sports, they’re middle of the pack.

It’s safe to say the coaches aren’t there because they’re collecting plaques.

They’re also not there because they’re making a lot of money.

They are there because they have a passion for the school and for helping the girls excel as athletes, students and people. Now those people who have given years, some decades, to the school and the students are being asked, “Hey, can you tell us why we should keep you on as a coach?” It’s bizarre.

My views on high school coaches are different than many. I never think a coach should be fired for a lack of success in the program. A high school coach’s main responsibility should be to help their kids succeed. Wins are nice. Championships are awesome and should be celebrated. But it shouldn’t be the main goal of a school or a coach.

Teachers aren’t fired if their Track 3 algebra students don’t get a 1600 on their SATs, so why would a coach get fired for a team not making the playoffs?

Coaches need to teach kids the game and put them in position to play in college.

They should make sure their players learn the basics.

And the biggest thing is they should make sure their athletes represent their school in the best possible fashion. I can’t think of a high school coach in my coverage area who doesn’t do that. So I’m anti-firing coaches for their record.

But making every coach reapply for their job is a bad look for a school, especially one that prides itself on tradition.

Take a look at the athletes at Little Flower.

You don’t see a lot of girls playing one sport there. They play two, three, sometimes more.

They’re almost always in four or five activities outside sports.

They usually are the best spokeswomen for the school. At least the ones I have interviewed over the years, they all love the school and appreciate what the school has done. They all talk about all of the great opportunities they have by being Little Flower students. And they appreciate the support the school, and their coaches, have given them. I can’t imagine the athletes are happy with this.

It’s not fair to the new AD, either.

The new athletic director has a tough job ahead. They have to fill five vacancies for the fall. If you need any suggestions, let me know. I know five good coaches who were recently told they are out of a job, at least for now.

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