BENNINGTON — The Mount Anthony Union School Board heard a presentation from Athletic Director Tim Brown at the board's Wednesday meeting.
Board Chairman Tim Holbrook said Brown was invited after the board had previously requested to hear from heads of various departments on how the board might be helpful to them in the future.
Brown, who has been athletic director for 28 years, passed out documentation that laid out what he does, and what the specific responsibilities of all of the coaches are, noting that, people often assume that his whole job is to watch games, which it is not. "We have 82 paid coaches on staff that have to be evaluated and observed," he said.
"I've been doing study since my second year, in 1989," said Brown, "I tracked athletes who made the honor roll, and what I found was really interesting; in 1989, 38 percent of the athletes made the honor roll. This past fall, 64 percent are making the honor roll. I really believe this isn't by accident. It's gone up every year."
He said students who play three sports and make the honor roll are given special recognition, which motivates student-athletes to put in the extra work. "It's a little bit of a competition," he said.
Board member Dave Frederickson asked Brown what the board could do to help protect coaches, as parents have often come to the board to complain about individuals, adding that coaches have actually left because if this. Brown said the coaches are educated on how to deal with encounters such as that, and how to, "work with parents and understand that, in most cases, parents just want to be listened to, they want to be heard. It is their goal to look out for their child, and not necessarily see the big picture. It's the coach's job to see the big picture of his team, and it's my job to see the big picture of the athletic department. So, we try to convey that to the parent, but I think there's nothing we can really do to prevent parents from making nasty phone calls, making nasty emails. There's not a lot of them, but those few can make coaches' lives miserable. As a department I think we just have to work really hard trying to work with parents and make them see that we are trying to do what is in the best interest of a team. In most cases these are not individual cases we're dealing with, we're trying to make kids work together toward a common goal. Sometimes, all things aren't equal."
Frederickson also brought up comments he's gotten from several officials who said the athletic department was not paying them in a timely manner. This occurs because the expenses need to be approved by the MAU board at its monthly meetings. Checks are sent out the day after the meeting each month. Brown acknowledged that it has been a problem, and said he is working with the financial office to get it sorted out.