Scott Stanfield was sitting on his 99th career win at Brainerd High School, having led the Warriors boys’ basketball team to the Minnesota state tournament in 2017. So it was a shock to those in Brainerd and in the state’s prep basketball community when Stanfield abruptly resigned on Jan. 11 in a public letter.
The reason? Stanfield cited increasingly hostile interactions with parents, who most often had concerns about their child’s playing time. These interactions took place in person and through anonymous letters that included cursing and threats.
The resignation inspired Brainerd Activities Director Charlie Campbell to reach out to his colleagues and address this problem. There had to be a better way to educate parents, and thus keep more coaches happy and on the sidelines. Others disagreed, saying parents should have an even bigger role in how their children are coached, and that coaches should learn how to handle it better.
What’s your take?
Take 1: Parents Need to Step Back
Stanfield suggests that parents take some kind of course on appropriate behavior and expectations when involving their children in athletics. They need to step back and let the coach do what’s best for the players and the team. Sometimes parents criticize a coach out of ignorance, not knowing how their child is performing in practices. Campbell said he always strived to handle complaints with the coach, player and parents all present to encourage honesty and open communication.
Take 2: Handling Parents is Part of a Coach’s Job
With the rising competition for scholarships and the attention of scouts, why should parents be forced to take a backseat? Making sure one’s child is being treated fairly by a coach is part of any parent’s responsibility. Coaches should be more receptive to feedback from parents since they are the ones entrusting their children to a coach’s care.
Have Your Say
What do you think? Are coaches facing undue pressure from parents? Or are coaches not as accountable as they once were? Or is it somewhere in between?
From GameChanger and Todd Kortemeier