NAIA - Breakout
Athletics Administration Leadership Models in NAIA Colleges
(Monday, June 16, 10:15 - 11:45 a.m.)
Good morning. We have three individuals who have agreed to share their ingredients of success with us this morning. As they make their presentations, if you have questions you would like to ask them at the conclusion, please write them down. Hopefully, there will be time at the end to entertain various questions. Let me introduce Eric Forseth who will introduce our speakers.
Thank you Peggy. First of all, I will let you know that I'm going to read a few biographies on the presenters here. I have asked for formal resumes by writing them letters. I'd like to suggest that you address the following areas -- what has made your program successful, marketing ideas you have implemented, community projects in which you've been involved and processes you've utilized to develop successful coaches. The only one who sent me a really nice formal resume is very interesting. I'm not going to debate it, I just want to share it with you.
The first thing he put was his height as 6' 4", his weight at 265. Now, this is public information. He sent it to me. He's the athletics director and head men's basketball coach at Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina. I see where he's had jobs as athletics director and basketball coach and won several conference championships. He's a well-rounded individual. We'll go in alphabetical order here so, he'll speak last.
The next person is Hal Smith. He cut out his basketball media guide page and sent it to me. The most interesting is that he's the president of the Mid-Ohio Conference. He's recently been elected to the Council of Athletic Administrators.
The first person to speak is Mary Beth Kennedy. She called me in a panic attack about 10 days ago. She had all of her materials ready, but forgot to send me a resume so, she handwrote this one. She's athletics director at Nebraska Wesleyan University and head women's basketball coach. She's been involved in our national tournament. Mary Beth chaired the Games Committee for the Women's Basketball Tournament for the last three years. She was the NAIA Administrator of the Year in 1993-94.
Mary Beth Kennedy:
Thank you very much for asking me to speak. Before we start, I want to give you a little background. Those of you who have known me over the years will know where this is coming from. Several years ago, I got a new boss. That was the hardest thing that could have happened because, before that, I had the guy who hired me and he let me do what I wanted. Then, I got a woman. She was very tough and challenged me. It was her challenging me and helping me to understand what we were trying to do in leadership, that in the last three years at Nebraska Wesleyan, that has put us beyond where we ever thought we could be.
I want to share with you today the definition of leadership in student affairs in athletics and what we do in our athletics department. Sometimes I'll be talking about the students, but more about the coaches because that's what we needed to do at Nebraska Wesleyan regarding what we were doing with our coaches. Our definition for leadership is the key to every single thing we do and that is leadership is the process of empowering others to achieve shared goals that promote the common good. The key to everything is that we empower others. It's my responsibility as the athletics director and it's the responsibility of all of our coaching staff members. We have 64 coaches on our staff, both part- and full-time. It's our responsibility for all 64 members to empower each other to be successful.
We have shared goals. We're not in our own little department and we do not have our own thing that we're trying to do. That's not how it works at Wesleyan. We try to work together. It's trying to have shared goals where we all identify. At the beginning of the year, either at the spring or fall retreat, we try to determine what goals we're trying to look at. We recently moved from an old facility into a $10 million facility. Trying to move to a new facility can bring some changes regarding scheduling and things that people were used to doing. That was one of the things we used as a shared goal. For example, in scheduling in our department, with 18 intercollegiate sports, we have to share facilities. It really gets tight in the field house when we have indoor track, tennis, baseball, softball, etc. We actually have group meetings where they have to sit down and give and take. I'm just a facilitator. It's my responsibility to help them to be successful, but it's their job to work together in these shared goals. At first, that wasn't very easy because we had some coaches who were used to doing what they wanted. You have to get them to understand and believe in this leadership model.
My belief is that you try to not say no first. The interesting thing at Wesleyan is that we have four vice presidents. My vice president is very understanding about this definition, always try to say "yes," or let's see what we can do about this first. I've found that having that philosophy instead of somebody presenting something and saying, "no, I don't think so," is better. That, with young coaches or even our older coaches with set ideas, starts to have them not believe in things that they can do. We try to have them promote the common good and try not to say no first. Say "yes" or, "let's see what we can do." That's a way I can empower our coaches to come up with new and inventive ideas.
Departmental meetings were a disaster for us about six or seven years ago. One of the things the coaches said to me was we should quit having meetings just to read things to us. They can read and they are smart. We now have goals every year and that's what we have our meetings about. I do weekly notes that are reminders, such as "I'll be gone here, budgets are due, things they can read. But, when we have a meeting, we meet to accomplish something, to plan for something, to work on a goal we're doing as a department. We're working on putting up banners for our national championship appearances and conference championships, so it will be a collective process with all of our 18 intercollegiate sports. That's something we work on together. We will work on this at departmental meetings, because we can't do it by paper. There are a lot of things you can do with paper.
We do have a lot of part-time head coaches. If you don't have things in writing, they say we never told them to have their evaluations done, etc. By doing these weekly notes that you pass out with copies for those not in the office, they can get the information. We've asked to have departmental meetings at different times. Sometimes we'll meet at 7:00 a.m. and serve breakfast. I find that food really works well. Sometimes we'll meet at lunch time. Coaches teaching at high schools might be able to attend in the morning, but not in the afternoon. One of our assistant ADs on our staff is responsible for the part-time coaches who are not there to make sure they get the information they need. That's another way we use to empower them and help them to see the goals we want to accomplish as an athletics department and to promote the common good.
We have a definition for what we are trying to do in our community with our coaches. This is the basis for how we operate. I do have a handout for this definition. We believe it is the responsibility of the Nebraska Wesleyan community to prepare coaches to serve through leadership. You can actually take this definition and substitute students because this is also our definition for students. We believe it's our responsibility to prepare them to serve. We believe each coach has leadership potential. People would believe this is not true, but our belief at Wesleyan is that everybody has some leadership potential. It's my responsibility, when we hire them, to look for people who have more or less leadership potential, but particularly, in their area. We want to discover it and develop it and we need to celebrate it. We do a lot of things with celebration in our department when people are honored or recognized, or if they've done some special things that no one else knew about. We're committed to nurturing the leadership abilities of the coaches working at our institution through a process which empowers them to contribute to the ever changing world community.
About four to five years ago, we had a goal for every team to do a community service project. The interesting thing is that every year, that has continued. All of our teams do a community service project. It's no longer a goal of the department now, it's just something that everybody does. It provides a lot of personal success and good feelings for our student-athletes and coaches.
We believe in doing, study, practice and experience. It's my responsibility and others on our staff to empower people to do that. For study, I believe in allowing and empowering coaches for professional travel. When I got to Wesleyan, our total professional travel budget for coaches was $2,000. I went to the president and told him that was crazy. How can you expect our coaches to study if we don't give them the money to do that, so we budgeted five times that much money. Every year, we focus on allowing them to get involved in their professional groups. We encourage our coaches to be involved in their professional study groups and committees. When we do evaluations each year, we ask the coaches if they're involved on any committees. You can learn so much from your colleagues. I'm a firm believer in empowering our coaches through practice and encouraging them to be involved on committees.
Finally, through experience. Over the years, we have hired a lot of new people. We've reframed our group and delegated a lot of responsibilities. I'm a firm believer in delegating. I believe in sharing information. Sometimes coaches believe you're cheating them when you don't tell them about the budget or about what's going on. We rearranged our department and by doing that, we also prepared some information for them so they'll understand what's going on. I remember when I hired a football coach and he made a bad call and we lost the game. He said to me, "Mary Beth, I really made a bad call." The common answer to them is, "Well, what did you learn from it?" He's was a young coach and he learned this or that. My responsibility is to empower him to study, practice and experience. So, he learned from making that mistake. Someone else might fire him because he lost the game. But, we all make mistakes and we learn from them. He explained how he did it and he recognized what he should have done differently. That, to me, is awesome.
We are committed to a process that honors personal choice. I'm not a believer, personally, that people have to dress a certain way for work. I respect everybody's personal choice. I'm not one who believes you have to be there at 9:00 a.m. Set hours are crazy. We have to really respect what their personal choice is. I've found that people are willing to give more and are more willing to work with you and the group on a shared goal if they're able to make their own judgements. That shows a lot of respect for your coaches and it helps them to embrace the values of citizenship, ethical behavior and community service.
That's all part of what we believe. We do a yearly evaluation and it's a four-part process. One, they review their job description. Two, they fill out some information themselves about what their goals as a coach were. What are some of the things they struggle with? How is their relationship is with me and others and how they could do better? I do an evaluation on them and finally, they get their goals for the next year. We have goals as a department and we have goals as an individual.
I want to share with you leadership frameworks. We really believe in this at Wesleyan. We believe we use the emergent paradigm for how we're going to work in our department. The dominant paradigm is the traditional way we've used in athletics over the years. We believe in a collective model. In the dominant paradigm, there's a lot of leaders and followers. You're the leader, you're the follower and this is your job and this is not. We don't do that at Wesleyan. There's a leadership alongside people working together. In a dominant paradigm are tangible tasks. We believe in more intangible tasks. Dominance is connected. People need to work together. We have an opportunity to host a couple of pre-national tournaments. It took a lot of connected effort because there was going to be a lot of men's and women's sports using the facility. We had to show that connected effort where we work together. The dominant paradigm believes in a very organized structure. We look at it as a multi-perspective from a variety of different areas. That isn't just in athletics. It's across the campus.
We believe in intuitive and connected structure and a whole structure. We don't go by this person does this and this person does that. We use a mutual shaping model where we are all dependent upon each other. That's the model we continue. We need to get people involved. We believe we need to support each other and show up at each other's events. That was a goal and we did it. We took it upon ourselves to have our student-athletes doing special things and inviting special groups. That emotion and spirit we could put to the game, even though it wasn't our responsibility, was important.
Finally, just to put power to and with people, rather than I'm the boss and I'm over them. We don't use that philosophy, but we look to where we put people together for a common good. Those things have helped us in our departments to empower our coaches and, ultimately, to empower our student-athletes to be very successful. Changing to this model has made a great difference and has helped us.
I would like to thank Eric and Peggy for the invitation to come and share my thoughts with you. I can understand why Willie would put that on his resume. If you want to update mine, I'm 5' 7", 144 pounds. No, I am not going to take Willie in the post. As a little background, Malone College has 17 sports and, within the last four years, we have initiated programs in women's softball, football and, this coming year, we are going to initiate a program for women's soccer and women's golf next year. I've already hired the women's golf coach. You're looking at him.
When you talk about leadership models from my perspective, I need to look at philosophy. One of the things I've been privileged to do, besides being an athletics administrator for a total of 15 years at two Christian colleges, I've also had the experience of being a dean of students for 10 years, which is an administrative position. I have found that the athletics directors job is maybe one of the most unique jobs that exists. It exists on two or three levels, especially if you coach.
Similar to some of what Mary Beth said, I have a very simple philosophy and that is the servant model of leadership. I believe that my job is to help the coaches be the most successful they can be. At the same time, I have to represent, not only up to the administration and coaching staff, but it is my job to be the conduit from the administration to the coaches. So, there is a dualism involved in our job that is not inherent in some other administrative positions.
You cannot look at leadership models without looking at some type of style or some definition of power. I belief that, personally, I deal more from a position of people power as opposed to position power. We, as administrators, get things done because of who we are as opposed to what we are, or what the job title is sitting on the desk. If I had to characterize my main emphasis as an athletics director, as an administrator, it would be one that works extremely hard at relationships among staff members. I try to have as much personal one-on-one contact as possible. Somewhat the same, we limit staff meetings tremendously because of the aggravation of trying to schedule a staff meeting and get people there because of all the various sports schedules and the part-time people. To overburden people with meetings does not accomplish anything.
We do some memos and I try to manage by walking around. I make contact every day with coaches. We all exist in the same lobby hallway of our gymnasium, so it's somewhat easy to do that. In that relationship situation, there's a sub-title and that is to try to get coaches to see and understand the larger picture of athletics at the institution. Being a coach, I understand there is a protective nature of coaches and that is, we look at our own sports. That is of primary importance. I feel it's very important for the staff to understand the total picture.
From a personal standpoint, we had a major battle at Malone when football was being studied and instituted. I've talked to a number of people about this. Within four years of competition, we've developed a very competitive program. My athletics staff, when polled, was 100 percent in favor of not having football. Our college president was 100 percent, one man unanimous in favor of having football. It was a tough sell. Part of that was to understand that football would not detract from us. We will not all have to give up. So, this concept of seeing the big picture is one I have to work on every day with coaches. I find support because I look at the New Testament from the Philippians, Chapter 2, it talks about doing nothing out of empty conceit, but to think of others as more important than yourself. We use that as a philosophy. That doesn't mean that I am not important, but it means I am not more important than you are. We established this relationship situation. We all can get stuck on our own programs, but if I can get everybody to understand on a larger scale, it makes my job easier.
Let me relate my last few comments to the questions proposed by Eric. What has made your program successful? I believe Malone College does have a successful athletics program. It's a bi-product of a successful institution with a very supportive administration. My report line is to the executive vice president. There is the president, the provost and executive vice president. That's the big three. He looks at me when we discuss things and says, "your department, your call." Then he'll smile and say, "and, it's your job." He allows me to do my job. I allow my coaches to do their jobs. There is a responsibility aspect. If we exist in an organization and do things but not take responsibility for them, who cares about the decision? I appreciate 100 percent the support my administration has, not only in me, but in our coaches and in our department.
When I arrived at Malone College in 1983, we had 800 students. This next year, we will have 2,100 students, so we have grown. We have added programs, we've added buildings, we've been successful as an institution. I think the athletics department has helped that, but has also been helped by a successful institution.
The second point that has made our program successful is a quality staff of coaches and the camaraderie that exists among our coaches. We've worked hard at trying to develop trust between coaches. The other night a couple of us were out to dinner and we were discussing loads, how many hours you get for this release time. One of the first things I did when I became athletics director was to take all of the full-time coaches on campus and we created a 50-50 load to sport relationship in all of our sports. So, our soccer coach teaches 50 percent and gets 50 percent for soccer. I, as athletics director, get 50 percent and 50 percent of my load is men's basketball. We all exist on that claim. We are not philosophically saying that someone is more important than anybody else.
The reason is not the length of your season and the number of student-athletes you have or anything else, because all of us work year long on our sports. We all adhere to the 24-hour rule. There is no such thing as seasons anymore, I don't believe. This has helped to create a great deal of camaraderie amongst out staff. I feel, as athletics director, I treat my staff as equals because they certainly are. At one time, we had four members of our department in the NAIA Halls of Fame in their areas. Two of the coaches on my staff were athletics directors at Malone prior. We really work hard at camaraderie. We try to get to events. I know it's difficult, as Mary Beth pointed out, to try to get to other sport events, but we work at that.
I made a comment about football. I would tell you five years later, that football has been a very positive thing for Malone College. Not only because of it's success, but because of what it has done for our institution and what it's done for us locally. You can't exist in Canton, Ohio right next to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in a very rich football area and not have it. It's done a lot in the community to make us a legitimate institution. I never realized that and neither did others that were there for 25 and 30 years, that in the eyes of the people in Canton, Massillon and all these football powers, what kind of college could Malone be? They don't even have football. So, we've been legitimized in a sense because of that.
The staff I have is definitely one of the key reasons we have been successful. Our men's and women's sports all have equal budgets, equal scholarships as we pair up men and women. It's very easy for us to exist with each other when nobody feels anyone is better than they are.
I'm not too sure there's been anything unique at Malone College as far as marketing. I know there's some talk about doing some other things. We're in a very highly visible high school area, especially high school football. When a high school football game draws 28,000 people, it's tough to get people excited about your football program that might draw 4,500 or 5,000.
We've created an auxiliary account budgeting which will carry over from one year to the next. Each of our sports is allowed to raise funds throughout the year with approved items, etc. That money can accrue and coaches can use that then, with my signature, for non-budgeted items. Most of the time, we use that money for extra equipment and trips. I'm one that likes to travel with basketball. Our women's basketball team will go to Hawaii next year. This is a concept that allows sports to do a little bit extra.
Community projects in which we've been involved have been numerous. It is a sports crazy community. Walsh University exists in our backyard and together we have held a successful tournament and/or games called Hoops for Habitats, Habitats for Humanity. We give the proceeds from this to the Habitats for Humanity chapter. Many times the officials turn their checks back in. That always surprises me. We have a number of student-athletes involved in a community reading program with libraries where they will go to the library on Saturday mornings and read stories to kids. The school system will tell you that because it's a student-athlete, it will really encourage the kids.
I serve on the Canton Chamber of Sports Promotion Commission. We've done a lot locally. We held an NAIA Division II Football Championship one year in Canton. We sold out more than 20,000 seats. The day of the game, it was 15 below zero. The tickets were sold even though only about 11 people showed up. We try to stay involved in the community as far as putting something back in.
I have a handout for the last point which is, the process you utilize to develop successful coaches. There's a couple of things we do. I have had the privilege of hiring all of the coaches on our staff except for two. Two of my coaches came with the foundation of the building and, hopefully, I'll never have to replace them. We've created a mentor program where a new coach will be assigned a coach on staff. That's a great idea because they don't ask me all of the questions. They can ask one of the other coaches. As I've watched christian colleges, I believe we are one of the few organizations in existence that shoot our wounded because we do not like to confront problems. Maybe I'm one that is not bothered by that. I think confrontation is good when it's done in the right way. Rather than watch someone do things wrong and spiral down to a point where you have to get rid of them, confrontation by evaluation is a good thing.
We use an assessment chart. This is not unique and I forget who I stole it from. I augmented it over the years. Every so often I will hand this out and ask them to evaluate themselves according to the areas of questions on this chart. I will do an evaluation on them, as well. We will sit down and go over it, in addition to sharing some things that have gone on over the years. I've also had the bad opportunity of letting a couple of coaches go for various reasons. This evaluation has areas we feel lend themselves to coaching.
The last part, being a christian college, we strive to have our coaches integrate their faith into their coaching. I, many times, feel that in the academic community, coaches have the life laboratory that exists, especially in physical education. You can talk all you want about things philosophically, but when the rubber hits the road during a coaching situation, we see how people are and what they do. We do look for this.
I'm very impressed with how our coaches strive to help the new coaches on the staff become successful. It really is a situation that has helped us over the years. Again, I appreciate the opportunity to share with you my thoughts which are probably nothing you haven't heard before or have been doing. I only know that it works at Malone College and I thank you for the opportunity.
Let me start off by thanking Eric and Peggy. Let me also thank Hal and Mary Beth for their remarks pertaining to the leadership roles and the different models at their particular institutions. It's a little different at Benedict College. At Benedict College, our philosophy is based on the college strategic goals. We have nine goals which are set by the Board of Trustees and those goals are passed on down to the president. The president passes them on down the line in the organizational chart. Therefore, the athletics department goals are based on the college goals.
If one of the college goals is to right-size the institution to have 2,500 students by the year 2000, then our goal will be what will we do in athletics to help get to that 2,500? One of the goals would deal with recruitment, how we're going to recruit those students, and how we're going to retain those students to help meet that particular goal. On the other hand, we will have individual goals that the department will set forth at the end of each year for the next year.
In 1988, we started out with a total of seven sports, an $80,000 budget and all part-time coaches. Today, in 1997, we have a $l.8 million budget, 35 employees and 14 sports. So, you can see that over the past 10 years, we've had the opportunity to grow a little. When you grow, you tend to have some growing pains. Most of the pains comes from coaches if you're the athletics director. I think you know that. You try to work with them. You try to bring them along and get them to see that your point of view is more so the point of view of that institution. My leadership style is a reflection of the president. Normally, the president will call me and say, "Coach, you know, you're not a yes sir man." I'll look at him and say, "No sir, Mr. President, yes, I am a yes sir man." Normally, we talk and go back and forth, but we have the type of relationship that we can discuss different things. I try to be that same type of individual when working with the coaching staff.
When you move from operating a budget of $80,000 to operating a budget of $1.8 million, you're doing pretty good. We found that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Let me tell you, I still need another few hundred thousand dollars just to try to make ends meet. So, one of our goals is to make certain that we not finish in the red each year. I try to let the coaches know they are responsible for their individual budgets. They're responsible for their individual programs.
About four years ago, we got this new president who is my next door neighbor. From that point, this gentleman has really turned Benedict College around. Four years ago, with an enrollment of 1,200 students, to today with an enrollment of 2,178 students. I called him a few years ago when we were thinking about starting football. We wanted to talk to some NAIA schools pertaining to football and find out what they were thinking. There were a lot of individuals out there saying it won't work. My president said it would work and I agreed with him. It will work if the president says it's going to work.
One of the things I was able to see was, with this new football program, we got a new $75,000 weight room that all of the student-athletes could use. We got a new $25,000 fitness room that all of the student-athletes could use. We got a new budget because we were starting a new program. We started football three years ago. The first two years were just club ball, put the program together and iron out all of the kinks and glitches that would be there. This year, we declared we would now play on an intercollegiate level as independents in the NAIA. I found that by bringing in football, we hired a coaching staff and bought all new equipment. All of our coaches were professional players at one time.
One evening when the president and I were talking, he wondered how we were going to pay for all of these coaches who were professionals at one time. I told him we would tell them what we want and what we're going to pay for and that will take care of it. I told him not to get involved with this because you need to be the person who will referee. Let me go tell them. I told those guys what we were going to do and they just fell into line and things started to fall in place. I still have another problem with my other coaches because these were the coaches who had gone for many years without having all of the things they wanted. As soon as I got that football budget, I made certain all of the coaches shared in that same budget. Now, everybody at our place is pretty happy. When we buy the football team 200 tee shirts, we buy 1,000 and we buy it out of the football budget. They don't know this, but we keep everybody happy.
A long time ago, it was hard to take the cheerleaders on a trip. Now, we just charge it to the football budget and take the cheerleaders. I have the type of president who will say to me that we want to keep everybody happy. We want to do it like this. I tell him how we can bring about harmony. Our program is no different than most of your programs. As the athletics director, we dream we will have the type of programs that will go out and be successful, we'll win a lot of ball games. The bottom line is making certain we finish that budget year in the black. We raise money so that the revenue is there for us. With the exception of basketball, most of our programs are in the red. We work to try to get them in the black.
We have a job description for everybody on our staff. We tell them they need to take care of these particular things. But, from the athletics director down to the custodian, everybody is a fund raiser in our organization. Everybody must get out and help raise funds. We do that by putting on different programs. In 1996, we invited several Olympic teams to come and practice, work out and stay on our campuses to help bring in those funds. Benedict College's athletics department employees work on a set of values that include professional competence.
When I talk about the employees at Benedict College, I can talk about the pride as we look for group success. I tell everybody, when any team wins, all of us win. When a team loses, we all lose. You've got to try to get your coaches to understand that philosophy. Sometimes some coaches will pull against that particular team if they've had a pretty rough year, because if you look at this team or that team and they won a lot of ball games, you're not liking that. Believe it or not, coaches tend to talk about raises all of the time. They base those raises on the fact that if we won or broke a record. We try to teach them that everybody is responsible for everybody's program, which means, we want you to support that program.
One of the things we do at Benedict College is, with the football program in the fall, we do not schedule cross country on the Saturday of a home football game. We will not schedule a volleyball game at home when we're playing a home football game. Sometimes the percentage of raise that our school will give is not where you want to be, no matter where it is. To receive a little more is okay and we wouldn't give it back. I say to part time coaches since you're not participating in an athletics activity this weekend, why don't I give you a little more in your salary and you help me out at that particular game as a monitor, a ticket taker, ticket seller, etc. That way, I can give them some additional money rather than go out and hire other people to take that money home. That tends to make them feel a little better that I am trying to do something for them.
We tell our coaches we want you to be the best. We want you to produce the very best, no matter what you're trying to do. Dedication to service and dependability. We say to them to be there, put in the amount of time it takes to be successful. We hold them to that. Expecting the high standards of performance reflecting the commitment to excellence is what we look for in our coaches. We know that integrity and the ethical behavior will be there. I started out coaching 25 years ago. A lot of times the young coaches tend to get the job mixed up with their personal or social life. We try to tell our coaches we look for that integrity to be there. We look for the ethical behavior to be there because we have enough problems and can't have them bring others to our department.
We've been blessed with the coaches and with the students. In order for your program to be successful, you must have good leadership qualities. There are a lot of qualities that go into being a good leader. I'm certain all of us here today possess most or all of the qualities. Some of us are stronger in certain areas than in others. Integrity and respect that you will gain from your staff and the student body is important. You need to work along a set of guidelines where everybody knows where you're going and how you plan on getting there. As you set your goals, we know you'll set them high. Sometimes you won't make it all the way, but you'll be able to say that I've advanced further than I thought I'd be. Have a good understanding of the weaknesses that you share. I tell my staff that I'm not here because I know everything. I'm only here to share with you information I've gathered over the years. I would like to call on you for some expertise in particular areas and I give them that authority to step forward and be a part of our team.
In our marketing area, anytime you bring in a new program and will spend $1 million, the president or the board of trustees will hold somebody accountable. Number one, it's their belief that program should also kick in and help pay for itself, as well as we want individuals to share in the good times with us, we want individuals to be there when the times get tough. That football program is what really put Benedict College on the map. We get calls from all over the country asking how we started our program, why would you start a program, etc.
When we bring a coach in, we give him our handbook which will let them know exactly what they need to do. We also have a student handbook and they should follow these particular set of rules and guidelines. We have a community service program at the institution where everybody is required to take part in. Within the athletics department, our young people serve as mentors to individuals in public housing or by request.
We evaluate our coaches on paper on a yearly basis, but each week they are to turn in a weekly schedule of what they want to do in that week. Next week they tell me if they accomplished what they wanted. We work from that.
The most important person in the chain for me, is what I call the athletics operational officer. A lot of people call them the administrative assistant or a secretary of whatever, but that young lady is good. She also comes with some baggage. When I say baggage, every now and then she'll say, "According to union regulations, I'm supposed to get a 15 minute break." Every now and then she'll say, "It's time for me to go and take a smoke." She'll tell me those things at the exact same time that I need a paper typed or a report. If you can get an individual who is good and concerned about the department as well, is very important and I certainly have that. I say those things because no one is super all across the board. You're going to have to work along with those individuals who might carry other things that are not desirable.
If you have any questions, please let me know. Once again, thank you all for giving me the opportunity to speak to you. Thank you.
I have one question and one comment. The first question is directed to Hal. Do you need a guide to Hawaii. I'd be most gracious to assist you. Willie, if your president every needs a sabbatical, the University of Michigan-Dearborn would be more than delighted to have him come. I'm trying very hard to get a fitness center. I was glad to hear that Willie's president is very supportive of the athletics program. My current president is supportive of what we do. A former president at the University of Michigan-Dearborn just woke up one morning, stretched and said, "Oh, I think today, I'll cancel athletics." And, he did. The only thing that was left was the hockey program. I think those of you who have a supportive president, don't ever let them wake up one morning and decide that athletics has to go. It was really for no reason and we lost six varsity sports at a time when it was time to move forward. I don't know if he had a bad night, but we've never been able to regain that because of the damage he did in terms of the role of athletics on a campus and what it can do for young people. So, be good to your presidents.
My challenge has been to try to bring it back and it's been very difficult. I have a lot of walk-on coaches and I'm constantly struggling to get them to feel a part of the department as well as a part of the university. I would appreciate any insights from any or all of you on how we can make our part-time people feel like they're full-time people and that they belong to the institution.
We have that same problem. One of the things we've made an attempt at is to include those coaches in at least an initial meeting at the beginning of the year. It's somewhat of a social activity, but it's also a time to start the year off. We make sure when we schedule that, all of the part-time coaches can get there. We have a big Christmas get-together that fits into their schedule. A lot of it is to make sure I'm available for them when they come after school. There is nothing worse than a part-time coach coming by and needing something done and you're not available. It's a constant battle at Malone, as well.
Mary Beth Kennedy:
We also have that problem. My husband and I had a party at our home and try to include the part-time coaches, as well. When we have other events at Nebraska Wesleyan, we encourage our part-time coaches to be involved by being ushers and hosts for those events. We try to do as many things as we can to not make their job difficult.
For years, we let every coach buy their own coach's shirt. Last year, one of the assistant ADs and I got the bright idea that we'd buy them all the same. We all have logos now. They only have the time to work with their student-athletes and coach them. Their coach's shirts are done when they walk in. We really work hard in helping them with their schedules. We make certain that a lot of their stuff is done by the full-time people, because that's our responsibility. When they're only getting paid $2,000, $3,000 or $4,000, we try to share information with them as best we can. You can't expect a part-time coach who is getting a small salary and comes after another job, to do what a full-time person can do. They know that and we are expected to help.
Try to schedule meetings on a rotational basis so they can be there. You still have to hold them accountable and that's the only part that people omit. If they're not accountable, just get rid of them.
We try to reduce their responsibilities. Within the academic range where we require each coach to serve over a session each day, with the part-time, we'll not need to do that. When the academic advisor retrieved the grades and visits with each student to talk about the grades, we try not hold that part-time coach accountable totally, but we try to make them a part. Anything that we can do out of the office that will help that particular coach, we will do.
Part time coaches sometimes make you want to look for someone else, but we do try to work with them. We hope the head coach will understand what we're trying to get done in order that they continue to be the head coach.
Mary Beth Kennedy:
Part time coaches do get cheated because they're not there all of the time. At Nebraska Wesleyan, a few years ago, we really changed what we do for budgeting. Everyone is treated the same. Now, that's not everybody's institutional philosophy, but it is at our school. When you go on a road trip, you get "x" amount of dollars, no matter if you're a tennis player or a football player. What that does for a tennis team who has a part-time coach, that person believes they are being treated fairly because everybody gets the same thing. You're allowed one road trip, up to 10 events. If you have 10 to 20, you get two road trips every year.
Everybody understands that and that helps the part-time coaches so much because they're not trying to politic. They can do their job for coaching. It's the same thing with equipment. You do have to schedule meetings with them so they can explain what their team needs just like everybody else. If you can make some standards with your budget, it will really help to have your coaches believe in each other and realize they are not getting cheated. Especially if you have football, the perception is that football is getting much more than the tennis team. If you can look at simple things like food, lodging and meal money, have a schedule for how much money you get for how long you're on the road.
I'd like to thank our panelists. I know they've given us some insights on several issues that are important to bringing our programs forward. I would encourage you to attend this afternoon's session. We have a gentleman from Baker University. The topic is legal issues involved in staffing an athletics department. This will be a good session to attend.
Once again, thank you for coming and a special thank you to our panelists.