Managing an Athletic Program Year Around

  • Managing a school athletic program is a year-round task, not a seasonal one. School sports can be broken down into three seasons – in-season, pre-season and off-season. How you manage all three will have a direct impact on success.

    Whether you are a coach or an athletic director, managing sports requires detailed management plans. It also involves building solid relationships with athletes, parents, boosters, officials, administrators, assistant coaches and other staff members.

    Managing a school athletic program means that long before kickoff or the first pitch, coaches will have to have already handled myriad tasks associated with their team. Think of The Bad News Bears when Coach Buttermaker is informed he has to get his team uniforms. “No one said anything about uniforms.”

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    Athletic management planning

    Managing a school athletic program means coaches must adjust to new players every year and outgoing players. They must work new talent into the fabric of the team, assign positions accordingly and adjust game plans as needed. They also have to budget expenses.

    It is inherently valuable to see the sports season through a post-season management plan for the sport that you coach. Why is planning important in the pre and off-season?

    A winning coach must compare and contrast the coaching duties of a head coach as compared to a freshman coach in regards to seasonal management plans.

    If you are a coach it is time to think like an athletic director of a large high school with a history of a very successful athletic program and a proud reputation. There is no crying in baseball.

    Budgeting for athletics

    According to Jeff Sullivan, Athletic Director at Paint Branch High School in Burtonsville, Maryland, “One of the many hats that we wear as athletic directors is that of an accountant; every year, we are responsible for managing athletic department finances and making important financial decisions that will impact our schools on both a short-term and long-term basis.

    “To excel in this role of accountant, it is imperative that we establish a plan of action for all of our financial decisions. A detailed and comprehensive budget will provide a clear vision, not only for athletic directors, but principals, business managers, booster clubs, and coaches.”

    Here is your chance to learn more about anticipating such factors as gate receipts, transportation costs, opponents and weather patterns. And play close attention to the previous year. It will serve as your guide. Now is when your imagination comes in play.

    A professional development course offered through Dominican University can guide you to think like a director of an athletic program, which you are.

    You will have to make up a great deal of data, but the course will teach you how to set long and short-term goals; detail the source of the income; detail anticipated expenses; break down expenses; and strategies based on past experience.