You’d like to think that this story out of Newport, New Hampshire was the outlier, but frankly, it has become the norm. It is getting harder and hard all over the country to find men and women willing to do what it takes to be a scholastic coach these days.
Newport — Jeff Miller is about to plant a “help wanted” sign in the grass in front of Newport Middle High School.
It’s been harder and harder in recent years for athletic directors to replace coaches who choose to leave, but what’s happening in Newport is beyond the norm. Miller, the Newport athletic director, is in the process of filling the spots of seven head coaches who’ve decided to separate themselves from a position they once sought with some vigor.
Miller remembers when the possibility of coaching a high school varsity sport would result in a flurry of activity and countless hours scouring applications and doing interviews. Not so anymore.
If there is one prized coaching position at Newport High, it’s head football coach. The Tigers do OK in other sports, but there has never been any doubt that Newport prizes football above all else.
Yet Miller is about to start the process of hiring his third football coach in four years. It would seem obvious that there would be a bevy of candidates to coach in a town where football skills are handed down through bloodlines and there is never a shortage of players.
However, that is not the case. When the job opened up after Larry McElreavy stepped down two years ago, Miller received only one legitimate application.
“I got several others, but they were from young guys looking to get started,” Miller said. “That’s not the type of person we’re looking to coach Newport football.”
The only serious application came from Richard Boone, who has been around Newport athletics in a variety of sports and was a candidate four years ago, when McElreavy took over the football program from Larry Carle. Boone was hired and continued the winning tradition by taking both the teams he coached to the playoffs. He seemed young and enthusiastic enough to do it for a long time.
Not so. After two years, Boone has had enough.
Miller said that when Boone was coaching and helping out in other sports as a volunteer, “he didn’t get the blowback like a head coach.” Miller said.
“Parents have strange expectations for their kids, and Newport is no exception. Parental interference comes with the territory.”
Football tops the list of vacancies Miller needs to fill; wrestling, boys and girls soccer, boys basketball and cross country complete it. Miller needed a golf coach until just recently, when he was able to hire Heath Edwards to replace George Campbell after two successful years that included a state championship in 2016.
Read the entire article at Valley News.