LIVINGSTON, NJ – On Monday, many community members attended the Board of Education meeting in support of the proposed Volunteer Athletic Coach Policy.
Susan Burman of Livingston’s Human Resources department said that a few meetings ago, the topic of volunteer athletic coaches came up and “we were asked to provide the board with a policy that included more flexibility for additional volunteer coaches, as it previously only allowed for one coach per sport.”
She said that she consulted with Director of Athletics Patrick J. Genova and Livingston High School Principal Mark Stern and that they came up with another draft policy that affords the board and coaches with additional flexibility.
In the new policy, the need for volunteer coaches will be determined per sport, as needed, with a recommendation from the head coach to Mr. Genova. If approved, the position will be posted by the HR department, with the head coach doing the interviews. Parents and immediate relatives cannot be considered.
Varsity baseball and swimming coach, Scott Scroeder, advocated for the new volunteer coach policy at the BOE meeting. He said, “I started out as a volunteer coach 14 years ago and have been a coach in district for 13.”
He added, “In order to coach a varsity sport, you can’t just have one coach. You need as many hands on deck as possible. This year, we played 17 teams and I asked all 17 coaches about their policies and not one team has a policy limiting them to just one volunteer coach per program.
They have the ability to bring in as many volunteers as they possibly can and we are not even asking for that. We are asking for a process to be able to at least have that opportunity to bring in some volunteer coaches. The numbers have never gone down to where we didn’t need help. The volunteers will help the programs and help LHS.”
Livingston resident Adam Slavitt also asked the BOE to amend the volunteer coaching policy. He said, “It will benefit our town, it will benefit our kids, it allows young people to build a resume and become coaches, allows more instruction, and it doesn’t cost anything. I only see it as a positive.”
Jim Bower said he supported the coaching amendment and added that “Bill Purcell started as a volunteer.”
“Volunteer coaching—it’s a no-brainer, said Doug Greenwald. “It’s extra help. A lot of us have volunteered and are more than happy to put in our time. Why not take advantage of willing people who want to help their community?”
Lisa Bower said, “I am speaking to you in support of the volunteer coach program. My son is a two-season athlete and my daughter played volleyball. The coaches could probably use more help. If it comes at no cost to the district and benefits the teams, I see nothing wrong with it.”
“Volunteer coaching means more hands to help and teach,” said Tracy Carras. “At no cost to the district, and to help the coaches who work so hard—there is really no disadvantage. It will only help our kids. I am in support of it 150 percent.”
Robin Levine added that she is in support of the volunteer coaching program too, “not because I have children of age, but I will have children of age—so, I appreciate all of these coaches and all of these parents coming up to support this and I see no reason why we are not supporting it.”