The Value of Faculty Coaches: Integrating Quaker Values Into Friends Athletics

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 In the past decade, the Friends Athletic Department has made a significant change from hiring mostly coaches who teach at Friends to hiring mostly coaches from outside of the Friends Community.  Coaches from outside of the Friends community certainly bring a lot to the table. They can teach athletic skills, work ethic, and other important life lessons. However, it is still beneficial that we have a faculty member as part of the coaching staff of every sport because they are familiar with the school’s philosophy and with the students.

Teacher coaches are important to Friends athletics for many reasons.  First and foremost, faculty know the Quaker values and how they apply to athletics. Coaches who are familiar with the Friends philosophy are better models of sportsmanship and also will respect the Quaker value of peace. Faculty also know the role of sports at Friends.  While they acknowledge the importance of athletics, they also know students have academic and artistic responsibilities, and therefore they will not push the kids too hard or hold them way after practice.  Another benefit is that faculty already have an established relationship with many students from classroom experiences. Students can relate better to teachers whom they know from multiple capacities.  In addition, coaches who are faculty act as ambassadors for their sport.  They can add sporting events to the morning announcements and easily call team meetings during extra help periods. A great example of a faculty ambassador is Mr. Marbury, who teaches math and is the director of baseball operations.  He frequently calls baseball meetings in his classroom and often has players just stop by to chat about the sport.  He even set up leaf raking opportunities for his team to help out the community and earn money for a tournament this spring.  Every sport needs a faculty coach like Mr. Marbury who is approachable, friendly, and familiar with the Quaker values.
However, teachers are often very busy and they do not always have time for extracurriculars.  When non-faculty coaches are hired they go through an orientation that involves introducing them to the values of a Quaker education and environment. Perhaps this orientation could be broadened and deepened to increase their understanding of Quaker values. It might also be helpful for the coaches to know the students outside of the roles as athletes.  Seeing a student in a class or musical performance might help them appreciate the non-athletic responsibilities of their players. In that way they could also see how Quaker values are integrated into the daily life on campus. If Friends does not move in the direction of hiring more faculty coaches, then perhaps the program could consider these things to build a stronger program for everyone.

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The Value of Faculty Coaches: Integrating Quaker Values Into Friends Athletics