Varsity Boys Basketball Coach Josh Davis is one of many recently hired coaches for the 2014-2015 school year, following the departure of eight varsity coaches last year. Although new to the staff, Davis’ experience with the basketball team dates back to his time as a high school basketball player for St. Johns International School (St. Johns). Despite beating ASL at ISSTs in 2005, the championship and senior year in his high school, Davis ascertains that the relationship between both schools was and continues to be one of respectful admiration.
Settled into his new role as head coach, Davis admits basketball was an integral aspect of his childhood, although his father never attempted to force the sport on him. An eager player since a young age, Davis would often study the game from a coaches perspective rather than simply play the game, a premature habit that would soon evolve into his current profession.
While Davis believes that the hiring process at ASL was not as strict compared to past ones, he admits his educational background at St. Johns and Yale University as well as past coaching experiences played pivotal roles in his ultimate selection.
Attracted by the location and prestige of the school, Davis’ decision to apply for the boys basketball coaching position also stemmed from a desire to be a part of ASL’s sporting program, enticed by the schools appreciation for sports.
The hiring process commences with the school advertising openings and Athletic Director John Farmer sending weekly newsletters to the entire faculty, mentioning the availability and vacancies of certain coaching positions. After receiving a sufficient number of candidates, Farmer or Assistant Athletic Director Heidi McCune conduct interviews and examine the candidates’ previous playing and coaching credentials. Farmer maintains the importance of hiring people that have garnered coaching experiences in addition to having played in the past.
“Well it’s really important that people have a philosophy, recognizing first and foremost that we’re a school and that athletics is a part of their experience as a student athlete at this school. We’re not a club, and need to factor in things that are really important like character building and teamwork, and making sure that students’ behavior and their demeanor is very important,” Farmer said.
Although Farmer believes in the importance of enforcing student character and values through athletics, there is also a major emphasis on the coach’s understanding of the game and principles of teaching the game.
A large criterion for incoming coaches is their ability to establish a communal relationship between themselves and studnets. Whereas external coaches are more detached from ASL and not as large a presence in the community, hiring coaching staff from within the school is both more convenient in terms of communication but also allows the coaches to be a more centralized part of the school and emphasize the importance of student athleticism and character building.
While Farmer favors hiring people within the school, given their credentials are sufficient for the job, he retains the possibility of hiring candidates from exterior sources.
“I’m always going to hire the person who is going to be the best person for the job. So, I would never put a person who is working in the school in a position to coach if I didn’t think he or she was going to be the best person for that job,” Farmer said.
Farmer believes student athletes need to be surrounded by coaches who can impart new knowledge onto them and demonstrate the various intricacies of the sports offered at the school.
Due to the school’s transient community and teachers regularly shifting from one school to the next, Farmer acknowledges the challenge of hiring coaches for long term positions. Therefore sporting contracts remain on a season–by–season basis, as coaches are given individual contracts for a given year. Whereas other sporting positions require the coaching staff full-time, ASL’s part time athletics schedule has provided difficulties in hiring people in the past.
“People need to earn a living. It does make it challenging to get people to make that commitment, especially from outside of school, which is a reason why it’s a lot easier to put people in who work at the school. Their day ends when the students’ days end,” Farmer said.
Although Farmer attests to the community’s transitory nature, he does believe the Athletic Department’s current hiring mode is sustainable for years to come. He remains steadfast on hiring people with a desire and understanding to coach.