Most coaches back; cuts leave vacancies

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ROMNEY — Hampshire High officially has its slate of coaches in place for the coming school year after changes in pay structure and policy led to all the positions being posted as open earlier this month.

Coaches who are routinely reappointed to positions had to reapply for their jobs. The school board approved the list of appointments at Monday night’s meeting.

Head coaches at HHS remain the same as last year with a couple of exceptions.

Al Straley, who had coached both the girls and boys for several years, is now only coaching the boys team.

Earlier this year the school board amended rules to permit a person to coach only sport a season, so Straley had to give up one of the positions.

His successor for the girls team is still unclear, as Kacey Kahl, a substitute teacher from Maryland had been offered the job but has yet to accept it.

The tennis coaching position remains vacant after last month’s resignation of Seth Richardson, who left the county to teach and coach in Virginia.

Both soccer coaches still need assistants hired. The assistant cheerleading coach and athletic trainer positions also remain vacant.

The new pay system assigns each sport at Hampshire High a point value based on a set of criteria that includes number of players, public interest and risk of injury among others.

The head coach of a sport will be paid $70 per point. Assistants will receive 70 percent of that amount, middle school head coaches 50 percent and middle school assistants 40 percent.

The net result resulted in a decrease to the amount Hampshire County schools are paying coaches, from $116,148 to $97,573 for this school year.

The pay for some coaches, such as football and basketball, went down. Others, primarily swimming and most spring sports, rose.

The change came on the heels of cuts in the spring to nearly every position that was longer than the standard 200-day teaching contract. The school system is making the cuts in the face of declining enrollment, drops in state funding and disappearing federal funds.

Besides rearranging salaries, the switch also created paid positions for assistant swimming and wrestling coaches.

The changes took a heavy toll at Capon Bridge Middle School, where Wayne Mathias abruptly retired July 16, leaving the Bobcats without a cross country coach for the fall season that begins in 12 days.

He also had served as the school’s athletic director, girls’ basketball coach and track coach.

Mathias suffered cuts on all 3 of his coaching positions, as well as days being eliminated from  the A.D. contract. CBMS is also looking for head boys basketball and boys track coaches.

Romney Middle School still has openings for assistant basketball coaches for both boys and girls and head track coaches for boys and girls.

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