By Bruce Karnick [email protected] Trent Hanson has had a busy year of coaching hires. First, head girls’ basketball coach Scott Addyman stepped down and was replaced by Sheri McLeod. After …
By Bruce Karnick
Trent Hanson has had a busy year of coaching hires. First, head girls’ basketball coach Scott Addyman stepped down and was replaced by Sheri McLeod. After Addyman’s departure, head hockey coach Adam Welch made the decision to step down as well.
Last week, AD Hanson announced that boy’s hockey assistant coach, and boys golf head coach, Matt Klein will be promoted to Head Coach of the boy’s hockey team. Klein comes from an extensive coaching background, having coached in some capacity for over 16 years. He started as an assistant in 2006 for three years before taking an assistant job in Shakopee for a year. That year led to him taking the girls head hockey coach position for six years and boys head hockey coach for five years before coming back to Hastings. Upon his return six years ago, Klein joined both the golf team and boy’s hockey team as an assistant. Last year, he became the boys golf Head Coach and now, boy’s hockey.
“You know, being a part of it and seeing how things were done and what was done, you know the last seven years. It just gave me a comfort level of how to continue the growth opportunity here for the program, and a lot of things have been done the right way and Coach Welch was very good, and I’m sad to see him step down. That’s what made it hard to even apply, because I really did like my role as an assistant coming from being a head coach prior to this assistant coach run. I think I was a far better assistant this time around than the last, you know as being a head coach you can see, you know, that played a little differently. And that’s again, that’s what made it hard to apply, because I really enjoyed what I did, you know, on his staff, and where I was,” explained Klein.
Klein discussed the move with his wife of 13 years and their 10-year-old daughter, and they felt the time was right to move into another leadership role. But that decision did not happen quickly. In fact, he did not apply until the final day of the application period.
What is next for Klein? Working on his assistant coaches’ team. He hopes to keep as many of the assistants from the Welch program together as possible, supplementing and complimenting the openings that are currently there. Thankfully AD Hanson gives his head coaches 100% liberty on the assistants they hire as long as they pass the required background checks and other district policies.
Klein added, “It’s about comfort and opportunities and we just want to make sure that everyone that wants to be a part of it’s on the same page and challenge each other in the right way and, you know, to make this program as good as we can.”
Comfort is something some of the incoming seniors expressed they have with Klein taking the reins of the hockey program, but it also something some of those same seniors have to fret over regarding baseball. Within a week of the announcement that Klein had been hired as the hockey head coach, Head Coach Taylor Pagel announced his resignation from the Raider baseball program.
This is three very good head coaches in six months that have walked away from coaching. Coach Pagel denied the opportunity to discuss his departure at this time. When asked if he would do a quick interview, his response was “Not yet, if you don’t mind.” An understandable response for a fresh resignation.
With Addyman, Welch and Pagel all stepping down, the question must be asked, why? The first two cited a desire to spend more time with their family. Having observed youth athletics for decades, the follow up question is, what else? Yes, the simple answer is, to spend more time with family, but a more complicated answer lies in looking at coaching around the state. More and more coaches are leaving sports after a shorter time. Gone are the days of ‘dynasty’ coaches in high school athletics. This trend can also be seen in officiating. A major shortage of officials across all sports at the youth level coupled with the quick losses of coaches begs to ask why.
Go to games and see how officials are treated. Fans treat officials like garbage, as if they are less than human, this is absolutely unacceptable. During the Raider baseball game at Rosemount, a parent disagreed with the officials call of catcher’s interference and yelled that the officials should die. Yes, you read that right, a death wish over a high school baseball game. Absolutely disgusting.
The entitlement mentality is getting out of control and again, one must drill down even further asking why? Why do parents think their kids are going to be the next Wayne Gretzky, Michael Jordan or Babe Ruth? The odds of a high school player earning a scholarship to the NCAA is about two percent at all levels. Think little Johnny is going to make it to the pros? According to leagueside.com, roughly 853 players make the pros out of nearly 1.1 million high school athletes. Families spend thousands of dollars a year on specialized training, camps, clubs, seasons, etcetera, so they expect to see their kids play, and win. We as a society have lost touch with what it means to be a kid playing sports for the fun of the sport.
This last year parents should have listened to their kids and learned, but they did not. If they would have listened, they would have heard them saying over and over just how much they have enjoyed just being back out there playing the sport they love. Quotes from these athletes were always about being happy to play, nothing about being happy to be winning. Of course, winning is more fun, but the student athletes get it. They know their time playing a sport they love is almost over and they want to spend that time playing the game for the fun of it with their friends.
Parents are the problem. Their expectations of playing time and the skill level of their child often being thought to be better than it actually is means the parents feel like they need to lobby for their child. Let this be clear, in most cases, you don’t. The kids know what they need to do to earn more playing time, let them work through it. Sports teach life lessons, be a teacher. Teach them to lobby for themselves, to ask the right questions and to do so with respect.
Countless coaches have repeatedly mentioned how parents have become out of control. Yes, you, the parent reading this, can have a positive or negative influence not only on your kids’ season, but the coaches and umpires. So, here’s the deal, STOP IT. Seriously. It is awful how many times you hear parents yelling at officials, if parents treat officials poorly, can you imagine what it is like being a coach? We are going to hit a point of no return with youth athletics. We are going to hit a spot where people like these new coaches will not step forward and deal with the entitlement you think you and your kids have. Where officials will simply walk away from the game, never to return. When we have no coaches and no officials, we have no more youth athletics.
If you think you can do better than these coaches or officials, APPLY! Put your money where your mouth is. Step up and do the job or sit down and be quiet. Yep. That has been said because someone has to say it before we lose our beloved sports. Coaching, officiating, maintaining the facilities, working the various events jobs like concessions, all of that is stressful enough without someone thinking they have all the answers and being a jerk about it. These people are humans, they make mistakes, treat them with kindness, thank them for helping your kid enjoy the sports they play.
That does not mean that coaches and officials should not be held accountable, there is a right way and a wrong way to do it, and we all need to start doing it the right way before we cannot do it at all.
As it sits right now, with the two new coaches in place and AD Hanson soon to be on the hunt for a third, we have a chance to set the precedence with a new group of coaches of supporting them, their plans and their players. Treat these and all team / school officials with kindness and maybe we can work our way back out of this crisis we have put ourselves into.
For now, lets wish former coach Pagel the best in his next chapter what ever that may be, and wish coach Klein the best as he makes the transition to head coach of the boys hockey program.
(left to right) New Raider Head Coach Matt Klein at the end of the Lakeville South game with John Corlton, Connor Stoffel, Jake Harris and former Head Coach Adam Welch, who resigned after the season to spend more time with his family. Photo by Bruce Karnick