“It is not rare at all to have different openings at different levels. Every year I’m hiring coaches for something, but it just so happens that it is three in one sport,” Tim Wormald, the athletic director at PHS, said of the vacancies on the swim teams.
For different personal reasons, the head and assistant coaches for the girls swim team — Luke Robertson and Tanya Bonner, respectively — and assistant boys swim coach Jerry Rodriguez decided to leave their positions this year.
Wormald said the plan right now is to hire a new head coach for the girls (to replace Robertson) and a new assistant for the boys (to replace Rodriguez).
Girls swim team assistant coach Heather Christiansen will move up from a half-time role into Bonner’s full-time assistant coaching role for the Lady Panthers. Whether Christiansen’s half-time position is filled may depend on how many girls go out for the swim team in the fall, Wormald said.
Besides the swimming positions, Powell High School will also have two other coaching positions coming open:
The assistant/freshman football coach (which had been held by Steve Lensegrav) and the freshman girls basketball coach (made vacant by the departure of Gary Phister).
“Those coaches that we are trying to replace all did a great job and they are going to be hard to replace,” said Wormald. “I’m sorry to lose them, but think they have made those decisions for good reasons.”
All coaches in Wyoming have to be certified by the Professional Teachers Standards Board.
If a coach is not a teacher, then they must have a coaching permit from the PTSB. If they’re a teacher, the coach must have that specific sport as an endorsement on their teaching certificate.
A head coach certification allows someone to be an assistant coach in any sport, but to be a head coach, one has to be certified in that specific sport.
To become certified, a person must take a theory of coaching class and have experience as an assistant coach or have taken a theory of coaching class in that specific sport, a care and prevention of athletic injuries class, first aid and CPR certification, knowledge of Wyoming history and some other classes.
Some of the classes needed are offered through Northwest College and some requirements can be met by taking online classes through the National Federation of High Schools.
Along with the certification through the PTSB, head coaches in some sports — including swimming — must pass a 100-question test administered by the Wyoming High School Activities Association.
Wormald said he has a couple leads on possible coaches, but also wants to see how the teacher hiring process goes, as some new teachers are going to need to be hired for next year.