College coaches have a full plate and a job that is virtually year round thanks to recruiting. But as much time as coaches spend recruiting and coaching student-athletes, it?s not uncommon, especially in small colleges, for coaches to also teach in the classroom.
There?s no reason why a coach shouldn?t be proficient at teaching in the classroom. After all, coaching student-athletes to perform in a sport is clearly a form of teaching. The difference is that fans judge coaches on how many games their team wins, not on how well he or she leads students in the classroom.
In a perfect world, a coach is good at teaching student-athletes how to be winners in their respective sport while also teaching students how to become proficient in a particular classroom subject. But life is rarely perfect.
The reality is, if a coach loses too many games too many years in a row, it?s going to be hard to keep a coaching job, no matter how well he or she teaches in a college classroom. And to a lesser degree, the same may be true for high school coaches.
In any case, here?s what the coaches at Tabor are busy teaching in the classroom this year.
Football coach Mike Gardner teaches a fitness walking class in the fall and a class on coaching football in the spring. That certainly makes sense to me.
Cross-country coach Brian Grime is teaching two sections of wellness concepts in the fall. Again, that seems logical.
Men?s basketball coach Micah Ratzlaff teaches individual/dual sports, team sports, coaching of basketball and tennis in the fall, and individual/dual sports and team sports in the spring semester. This seems like another no-brainer.
Baseball coach Mark Standiford teaches an event and facility management class in the fall. I would expect Standiford to be a good classroom teacher.
Women?s basketball coach Shawn Reed teaches a principles of sport management class in the fall and wellness concepts in spring. My hunch is Reed would be an interesting teacher as well.
Volleyball coach Amy Ratzlaff teaches strategies for teaching secondary physical education in the spring. Ratzlaff would be well qualified to teach this subject.
Head cheerleading coach Daryl Green teaches tumbling and rhythmic activities in the spring. This is another coach and classroom situation that works well.
Not many coaches teach a class outside the area of physical education, but track and field coach Dave Kroeker teaches a macro-economics class in the fall. This falls a little outside the lines of what coaches normally teach, but Kroeker?s background is business, so this is a good fit.
I recall that former Tabor football coach Richard Kyle taught a history class, and former interim baseball coach Max Terman taught in the biological sciences. Again, this isn?t the norm, but fit their educational backgrounds.
My hunch is that Kyle, Terman and Kroeker were hired first as teaching faculty who happened to have coaching skills that could be put to good use.
Recreation and wellness are a growing part of our society, so it?s a good thing for Tabor to offer a range of courses in those areas.
I?m not sure how healthy it is for athletes who come to Tabor primarily to play sports to take so many courses from their coaches. One can hope there?s no grading bias toward keeping players academically eligible.
Did you know that some coaches at NCAA Div. 1 schools also teach a class now and then? For example, Urban Meyer is more than the football coach at Ohio State. He also teaches a class about coaching football.
Anyway, some poor students showed up in his class having made the mistake of wearing the color of that hated school up north, blue; Meyer punished them by forcing them to do push-ups in front of the entire class.
My hunch is those students either learned to wear Ohio State?s colors or dropped the class to enroll in pottery.
I doubt that Tabor football coach Mike Gardner would ever do such a thing to one of his students. Of course, Tabor?s colors are blue and gold.
Joe Kleinsasser is director of news and media relations at Wichita State University. He can be reached at Joe.Kleinfirstname.lastname@example.org.