West Johnston High moved quickly last week to name Jimmy Williams as its new head football coach and Clayton High followed on Monday by naming Randy Pinkowski as its new coach.
Williams and Pinkowski have been head coaches at other schools, but they, and former Cary coach Ben Kolstad who is moving to Sanderson, will be starting fresh in building programs at different schools this fall.
East Chapel Hill will have a new head football coach in 2013. At the end of the 2012 season, his third as head coach at East, Bill Renner announced he would leave the Wildcat football program and retire from teaching at the end of the school year. East Chapel Hill has been interviewing candidates for his replacement this month.
The new coaches of 2013 wont be far behind in establishing their programs, though.
Twenty-eight of the 32 area 4A schools will have head football coaches next year who have been their schools head coach for four or less years.
A high school football coach staying at a school for a decade or more is extremely rare. Ned Gonet has been Ravenscrofts head football coach for 32 seasons, but no other area coach is within 20 years of his mark.
Clarence Inscore, who was named as Millbrooks head coach in 2001, is the dean of the area 4A schools with 12 seasons. He is followed by Broughtons Chris Martin (2004), Southern Durhams Adrian Jones (2007) and Fuquay-Varinas Ryan Habich (2008).
Its tough to stay at the same place for a long time now, said retiring Clayton coach Gary Fowler, who was the Comets head coach for 28 years. Its getting tougher every year.
There are several reasons coaches dont stay at one school as long as they did in the past, including an increased emphasis by parents on athletes receiving college athletic scholarships, increased time demands and the growth of social media.
About a fourth of the N.C. High School Athletic Associations schools, currently 396, hire a new football coach in a typical year. That matches the national average, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations.
Dan Schuster, the assistant director of coach education at the National Federation, said that state officials throughout the country are seeing a higher turnover rate in all sports, not just football.
Mac Morris, an executive director of the N.C. Coaches Association, said the turnover in head football coaches may be a reflection of changing times.
You just dont see as many lifers. he said. It used to be that the kids all stayed at their high school, too. Now, you see the good athletes transferring around because someone has convinced them that the grass is greener somewhere else.
Garners Nelson Smith, who is stepping down as coach but will remain as athletic director, and Fowler said the pursuit of college athletic scholarships by families make high school coaching more difficult.
We had two Division I recruits at Clayton in the last 28 years, Fowler said. But there were plenty more whose parents thought they were.
Southerns Jones said there are increasing expectations to win every year and to obtain scholarships for players, but he believes he has built a support system that has made his job a little easier in recent years.
Older coaches taught me that you have to have rules for your players and your coaches and you have to stick to them, Jones said. Eventually, everybody, including your parents and your supporters, learn that you are going to enforce the rules and it becomes a little easier. But it takes time.
And time to establish a program is a rare commodity.
Jones and Millbrooks Inscore have had extra motivation to remain at their schools because they coach at their alma maters. Jones said he still wants to give back to his school and leave his stamp on the program.
Inscore said he has been fortunate to work beside people who understand the worth of the program isnt always reflected by the number of victories.
Making a difference in a kids life is the real reason we do our jobs, he said. All coaches want to win, but if you let wins and losses determine happiness or success you are in trouble.
Fowler said the year-round requirements on football coaches, including assistants, makes the job more difficult. Most programs have year-round workouts. The weight room is supervised six days a week almost year-round at some schools.
Youve got assistants being paid to coach in August through November, but they are coaching all year long, Fowler said. And every word and action is scrutinized. With the growth of social media, high school coaches are criticized in public almost continuously. These are guys with families. At a certain point, the $2,000, $3,000 you get as a coaching supplement as an assistant isnt worth it.
A disgruntled fan can go on-line and say derogatory things, true or false, about a coach and a program. Many coaches, like Smith and Fowler, dont go to the on-line forums, but they sometimes hear about them. And Fowler believes players are impacted by what is posted.
It creates a negative atmosphere, Fowler said.
The combination of longer hours and more demands can burn coaches out, Inscore said.
The hours, demands and lack of support are enough to burn people out, he said. I know the demands on teachers have really increased in the past three to five years.
The suspected decrease in coaching longevity is one reason the National Federation is stressing that new coaches become certified by completing a coaching basics course.
The NCHSAA now requires all non-faculty coaches and all new hires to complete the basic course within 60 days of employment and recommends all coaches complete the course by 2015. D. Clay Best and W.E. Warnock contributed to this story.
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