Wadena-Deer Creek sports teams are getting added support after school board members approved additional staffing during the regular board meeting Feb. 19. More hires could be up for consideration at the next board meeting in March.
Athletic director Norm Gallant discussed the growth seen in various sports as well as areas where added coaches made sense to him. In all, Gallant was looking at the possibility of nine positions for a total cost of about $22,725 in coach pay and benefits.
Of chief concern was track, where numbers grew from about 25 students nine years ago, to between 80-85 expected for the upcoming season. Gallant requested adding one junior high coach to assist with an expected group of 30 junior high students. There are currently four track positions, one being junior high.
Board members approved the additional junior high position.
Gallant noted that baseball and softball teams are the only ones with just one coach attending the games. He requested the hire of an assistant varsity coach for both the baseball and softball teams so if a student is injured and the coach has to leave with the player, or if a coach/player is ejected, another coach is able to take over supervising the team. He noted that others schools of WDC's size employ this model.
Board members voters in favor of the additional coach hires except board chair Kent Schmidt, who was not sold on the need for additional baseball and softball coaches. He commented that in games he attended, he did not see the need for additional coaches, as the games were played one at a time.
The needs of the trap team were not clear at the meeting as no request was brought forward from that sport. School board chair Schmidt thought they should be considered as they have seen great growth.
Trap has two coaches, with an estimated 50 students and four volunteer coaches. Gallant said WDC is one of a few that pays their trap coaches.
The board discussed the possibility of hiring another coach or perhaps splitting up some pay amongst the four volunteers. More discussion was needed with the trap coaches.
JH volleyball splits
Also in the request was the addition of three junior high volleyball coaches as Gallant anticipated 60 youth in that program. He thought hiring three more coach positions would work well to split up the group into six groups of 10 players, each able to compete in practice. The goal would also be to have more games so that more players had play time.
Gallant also requested two additional 9-12 volleyball coaches. The additions would allow for a varsity, junior high, B and C teams to play.
A decision on this request was tabled to a future meeting.
Gallant also suggested hiring a junior high wrestling coach. WDC is currently the only on in the Park Region Conference without three paid positions in wrestling. The position was cut over 10 years ago. There are about 20 wrestlers in this program and the same is expected next year, Gallant wrote. This discussion was tabled to a future meeting.