Battle lines were drawn last week between school administration, coaching staff, and a school board member as a complaint filed with the TSSAA against Grundy County Schools administration came to light. The complaint, made by a Grundy County Board of Education member, alleged that Grundy County High School football utilized coaches who were not certified and stated that the administration was informed of non-compliance in October and had yet to address the issue.
On October 7, 2016, a board member sent an email to Director of Schools Jessie Kinsey and other board members explaining that a request had been made several times for a list of non-faculty coaches and no response had been received. Because of the lack of perceived action on the part of the director, the board member contacted TSSAA last week with a complaint against the administration.
In question are the certifications of five non-faculty coaches serving as trainers and volunteers with the football team. According to TSSAA rules, non-faculty coaches must complete two certification classes, “Fundamentals of Coaching,” and “First Aid, Health, and Safety for Coaches,” prior to assuming their position as a coach. Fees must be paid for each non-faculty coach: $130 for the certification, and a yearly $50 fee per coach.
However, are the volunteers in question non-faculty coaches?
Bernard Childress, Executive Director of TSSAA, says that a non-faculty coach is someone who “gives instruction to players during games and practice.” He further stated that a trainer would not be classified as a non-faculty coach.
The board member responsible for the complaint thinks differently, saying that the non-faculty volunteers on the football field are instructing players and should be held to the same standards as other non-faculty coaches. As long as the volunteers are interacting with players, “we can be held liable.” Getting the volunteers certified would take any liability away from the high school and the school system.
When contacted for a statement, Kinsey confirmed that a board member reported the high school to TSSAA for non-compliant coaches.
“GCHS athletic director Steve Trussler is investigating the accusations and will respond to the TSSAA on behalf of the school.”