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Personnel Management and Sports Oversight

So you want to be an AD


Your career as an athletics director depends on how well you manage personnel.

It is a difficult task. You do not want to micro-manage, constantly directing your administrators and coaches by annoying them with every imaginable detail. At the same time, as we discussed in the chapter on institutional control, the responsibility for the administration of the program rests with you. You must know how to hire good people, how to develop them, how to reward them and (occasionally) how to terminate their employment.

The following documents are included in this chapter:

  • Sample employment contracts
  • Volunteer coaching agreements
  • Employee improvement plans
  • Sample performance and personnel evaluations
  • Job descriptions

Here are some questions to consider:

  • Do you know how to develop a job description and organize a search?  If not, who can help you develop those skills?
  • What, if anything, do you need to learn to execute employment contracts?
  • How would you go about finding the right balance for guiding your staff without being excessively involved in their day-to-day activities?
  • Are you comfortable providing employees with information that they need to become better?
  • If circumstances warrant, could you document an employee’s failures and, if necessary, terminate his or her employment?

Hiring good people is vital. That means you must have a firm understanding of what you are looking for, be able to read resumes critically and interview with a purpose. Those skills don’t necessarily come naturally; formal instruction could help.

Once you have found the best person for the job, you may be responsible for signing them to a contract. Multiyear contracts are the exception in Division II, but annual contracts are still important, and it will be your responsibility to execute them in a way that is fair to the employee and protects the interests of your program.

Finally, there is career development. While you will hire the occasional star who gets better and better without much guidance, in most cases you need to provide direction. It’s important to remember that management is a full-time responsibility, not something to be deferred to a once-a-year review session. If a coach or administrator is not meeting your expectations, they need to know at the moment, not several months down the line.

We have included sample performance-management forms, including one from Lubbock Christian University that incorporates the six Division II attributes – balance, learning, passion, resourcefulness, service and sportsmanship – into the review process. It’s an excellent approach that helps align institutional and divisional objectives.

Division II institutions often rely extensively on volunteer coaches, so they require adequate attention. You will want to consider background checks that are as thorough as those for your full-time staff. Also, you should check driving records for any coach or administrator who will be transporting student-athletes. Remember that it all comes back to you if you forgot to check.