Discourse / Letters / October 8, 2008

Letter to the Editor: As new coaches are hired, women’s sports suffer

Women’s sports at Knox have not been our pride and joy for years, but in the past two years, things have gone from bad to worse for women’s athletics. Soccer, volleyball, and softball are three of the sports whose problems have escalated seriously. In the past two years, women’s soccer has had an assistant coach fired, had 11 people quit mid-season, and almost had to cancel the season until they recruited new players. Volleyball lost six players, two of whom were captains last year. For softball, last season ended with only one player quitting but there were many problems involving the coach which eventually led to her allegedly “resigning.” You’ve most likely heard the rumors about these various sports. But unfortunately, most of these rumors are true. So why are these issues being swept under the rug?

The thing these teams have in common is that they hired new coaches in the last year or two. The three coaches that were hired were either very young, inexperienced, or both. Possible coaches were interviewed and met with the remaining players because the teams were told they would have some input. However, the coach hired for the soccer team was the coach the team said they did not want. The volleyball coach that was hired had already been working in the athletic department for years, but could still be considered inexperienced at collegiate coaching. Players were told that experienced coaches couldn’t be hired because the athletic department lacked the funds.

It’s weird how the football team can afford nine coaches, but the women’s sports can’t even have one excellent head coach. These teams have had problems for years, and the new coaches aren’t the only problem. But they have added to the escalation of the problems in the past two years. The teams knew what they needed to shape up and improve. They knew that these coaches would not help. And yet, their opinions were ignored and these coaches were hired. I don’t think anyone can say there is some sort of weird coincidence.

While there is a lot more to each situation, we just want to raise the lacking awareness of the campus to what is really going on. Why are these things happening? What should be done? It can’t just be the players, even though they are the ones getting blamed by certain people in the athletic department. It is time for the athletic department and the staff to be evaluated and see if they really have the best intentions for ALL of the teams here.

Alex Clark

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