Tuesday, March 24, 2009

EDITORIAL: Another loss for SD of L athletics

The Intelligencer Journal reports the resignation of Scott Feldman as head football coach at McCaskey High School.

According to the report, Feldman implied what NewsLanc reported over a year ago when he said he was unable to secure what he felt was the needed cooperation from the McCaskey High administration.

"I saw this coming two-and-a-half years ago," said Feldman. "But I don't think anybody believed it would happen. Last year, they saw it could happen. We're going to have to put in the hard work like everybody else.”

Although Feldman was critical of school administration for not giving him sufficient time and resources to work with football players throughout the year and to help oversee their academic progress, the real fault lies higher up with the offices of the School Superintendent.

In the winter of 2007, NewsLanc broke the story of how Assistant Superintendent Drew Miles had ignored the System’s athletic and physical fitness programs as it slipped into dysfunction, not even requiring the detailed report from the Athletic Director that had been prepared annually, describing each teams results and explaining plans for the future.

In addition, NewsLanc published the sad win / loss results of most of the McCaskey teams in competition and called for the replacement of Allen McCloud as athletic director whom we deemed unqualified and unsuited for the position.

With the departure of McCloud soon thereafter, NewsLanc urged incoming School Superintendant Pedro Rivera and also the School Board to conduct a thorough search and to allot sufficent funds to engage an experienced athletic director, preferably from outside the SD of L. NewsLanc even passed along a recommendation of one outstanding candidate from the region.

Instead Rivera and the Board chose to jump a SD of L wrestling coach and dean of the Lafayette elementary school into arguably its second most challenging administrative and leadership position.

When NewsLanc interviewed the newly appointed Jon Mitchell, it was apparent that, although he may have been material for an assistant athletic director, prematurely putting him into the lead position was both foolish and a disservice.

Being a successful athlete or even a coach does not make someone a leader and executive. That only comes with time and experience, assuming latent ability. And even if one knows what to do, it is very difficult to alter peer relationships long established.

NewsLanc has repeatedly pointed out that the main problem with many of the McCaskey teams is lack of knowledge on the part of coaches on how to run drills, train skills, and conduct active and vigorous practices. We have recommended the services of the local OneOnOne Soccer organization to assist the soccer coaches and identified outside funding for the purpose. Nothing has occurred.

Athletics are an important part of education and play a major role in providing exercise, building character and helping to retain students in school until graduation.

Given the large size of McCaskey's student body, given proper coaching, there is no good reaon why the school cannot be fully competitive.

It appears the School District of Lancaster’s athletic program will remain in a rut until and unless Mitchell and Rivera learn the hard way how to turn things around, and that will start by training the trainers --- the coaches --- on how to be prepare their teams.

The current situation is unfair to the students, to the community, and does not reflect favorably on Rivera or the School Board. It is time for the public to raise hell!