The Montezuma-Cortez High School Athletic Advisory Committee provided its final report to the school earlier this month.
The committee, consisting of M-CHS administration members, coaches, parents of students and community members, formed in the fall and held five meetings this spring to discuss concerns over the school’s athletic department.
The final report consisted of 20 resolutions and recommendations in order of importance, which the committee hopes will increase participation and improve the quality of M-CHS athletic programs.
M-CHS administrators have taken the recommendations into consideration and have already begun to implement changes.
“I liked the guidance,” principal Dr. Jason Wayman said of the report. “It was nice to have a set of priorities to help us improve, because our goal as a school and with athletics and everything we do is to keep improving.”
Perhaps the biggest alteration will be the restructuring of athletic department personnel.
“For the last few years we’ve had one person running the department and I think we have 19 sports and activities,” explained Wayman. “To have one person running all the financials, all the scheduling, all the reservations and everything, kind of set up one person for failure.”
The committee recommended that there be two employees working in the activities office and that the activities director be a certified administrator.
Stacey Hall, who has served as the director of activities and athletics for the last three years, will step down from the position and serve as a mentor for Chris Kelley.
Kelley, who served as vice principal during the 2015-2016 school year, will continue his vice-principal duties and will also take on the responsibilities of athletic director. The school also plans to hire a secretary responsible for athletics and budgets.
The committee also recommended that the M-CHS athletic program develop a mission statement and five-year plan, asked that efforts be made to hire teachers as coaches, requested that administration be more supportive of coaches and recommended quarterly coaches meetings for instruction and feedback, and asked that the decision to retain or terminate a head coach be made within 45 days of the season’s end.
M-CHS responded with an initial draft of its mission statement and five-year plan – and it expects to have a completed mission statement and plan by the start of the 2016-17 school year – and Wayman said that the school attempts to hire teachers as coaches and will continue to do so, with a goal of having 3-5 teachers as coaches by 2021.
M-CHS also hopes to create and provide a handbook for coaches by 2017-18 to inform and clarify M-CHS and CHSAA policies, set a goal to hold two meetings with all coaches at the beginning of each semester for the 16-17 school year and quarterly meetings for all coaches no later than 17-18, and will aim to determine to retain or terminate coaches within 21 days of the season’s end.
In regards to the committee’s request for more financial transparency, M-CHS brought in district auditor Lori Haley to create spreadsheets for all monies in the activities office to better track expenditures, plans to increase the promotion of athletic events and fundraisers and set a protocol that all equipment and funds be received and final entries completed no later than 14 days after an athletic season’s end.
As for facilities, the committee asked that they be maintained and improved, citing the baseball field, tennis courts and locker room facilities at Panther Stadium as concerns. M-CHS currently uses city facilities for baseball and tennis, and the committee believes the locker rooms at Panther Stadium to be “inadequate.”
Wayman said that while the baseball field and tennis courts were a concern, the school does not currently have the funds to build but it will continue the discussion moving forward.
The school’s goal is to have all sporting facilities updated and maintained in compliance with facility specifications regarding structural and technological standards by 2021, and it has been proposed to ask voters that of the $1.8M set aside for a new stadium, up to $800,000 be used to demolish the old high school, with the remaining funds dedicated to renovating locker rooms, restrooms, sound system and other aspects of Panther Stadium.
Finally, the committee provided recommended participation numbers to evaluate the health and viability of each sport. If a sport does not reach the minimum number of recommended participants, the committee suggested that administration consider eliminating the sport.
It was also noted that, moving forward, M-CHS will be designated as Class 3A and will join the Intermountain League, which does not offer boys tennis, girls tennis, softball or girls swimming. The committee suggested that if sports are considered for elimination, it should be sports that are not offered in the IML.
Wayman said that while the IML lacking certain sports is a cause for concern, each program will be evaluated based on the recommended participation numbers provided.
“We do have some programs with low enrollment,” said Wayman. “So by having them provide numbers on what the minimum number is for a program we now have guidelines to go by.”