SMC looks for full-time coaching staff
By MOLLY MCVOY
Assistant Sports Editor
As Saint Mary's athletics becomes a focus of the college's administration, coaching and staffing must be at the center of the discussion.
Coach retention has been an issue for the College in years past and it is an issue athletic director Lynn Kachmarik hopes to address.
"I want to sit down with current coaches," Kachmarik said. "I definitely need to put my vision and theirs together."
The longest that a coach has remained at Saint Mary's is 12 years. Larry Szczechowski, the current track coach, began coaching at Saint Mary's in the 1987-1988 season. This stability means a lot to athletes running for Szczechowski.
"It gives us a sense of security and a sense of confidence knowing that he's been a part of Saint Mary's for so long," junior runner Genevieve Yavello said. "He knows the history, the past runners and the academic pressures at Saint Mary's. Its great knowing he's coming from such a strong past at Saint Mary's."
Aside from Szczechowski and the track program, stability has not been the trend in Belles' athletics. The softball team had a coach leave in the middle of last season, and volleyball, swimming and soccer all have new head coaches this season. This is in addition to the new athletic director and assistant athletic director hired this year. Volleyball alone has gone through four coaches in the past 15 years.
"Having coaches leave makes it really hard for a team to bond and have stability," junior softball player Anne Senger said. "It makes the team feel inadequate and it makes it hard to perform at 100 percent when you have inconsistent coaching."
The reasons for this lack of stability is that the athletic staff at Saint Mary's is very overworked, according to Kachmarik.
"The hard part of retaining coaches is that it is a part-time position," Kachmarik said. "We have to be thankful they're here. They all also have full time jobs."
This is not a new trend in the Belles' athletics. The school has a history of personnel filling too many roles in the athletic program. Jan Travis, the athletic director who preceded Kachmarik served as not only the director, but also served as an assistant softball coach, often traveling with the team, and Jini Cook, last year's assistant athletic director, also served as the head swimming coach. Jo Ann Nestor, the athletic director from 1984 to 1993 served not only as the director, but as head tennis coach and filled in as basketball coach during a season when the original coach took ill.
"We do have a very caring and dedicated staff," Kachmarik said. "For a part time staff, I'm impressed with effort they make in reaching out to the students."
There are no full-time coaches hired at Saint Mary's, so all of the coaches maintain full-time jobs as well as coaching their respective sports. This left the coaches in charge of scheduling, recruiting and coaching in addition to fulfilling the responsibilities of their full-time job.
Kachmarik hopes that this will be one of the many things that will be changing in the future. In addition to the recruiting coordinator who was hired in 1996, Kachmarik hopes that full time coaches can be added to the payroll of athletics.
"Now that we're part of the MIAA, facilities is not the only focus," she said. "I would really like to include a full-time coaching staff."
All Sports Stories for Thursday, September 30, 1999