CHAMBERSBURG — Former Hanover High School athletic director Jeremy Flores did not give a fire and brimstone speech Tuesday evening.
But the new Chambersburg athletic director did get his point across that the best way for parents and coaches to have a productive relationship is to communicate, and to do it in the proper way.
Parents of prospective athletes on Trojan teams this fall met in the CASHS Auditorium for a presentation by Flores and another by trainer Chasity Johnson before breaking up into separate groups for meetings with the coaches.
Flores said he understands that there will be times when a parent has an issue involving their child, and that the issue needs to be addressed. But the correct way to deal with that issue is to talk to a coach first — the chain of command for athletics goes in this order: athletes and parents, to assistant coaches, to the head varsity coach, to the athletic director, to the high school principal, to the superintendent, and then to the school board.
"I believe 99.9 percent of the time, it can be resolved if you talk to a coach, because a lot of time it's for a miscommunication or something with a simple solution," Flores said. "You should give the coach the respect they deserve. If you call me, the first thing I'm going to ask is, 'Have you talked to the coach?'
"We have a good group of coaches here. I've met with almost all of them individually and they have a great amount of knowledge of their sport."
When a parent does talk to a coach, several areas of discussion are off limits — playing time, team strategy, play calling and other athletes on the team. What can be talked about are ways to help the child improve, treatment of the child mentally and physically, and concerns about the child's behavior or grades.
Flores also talked about the levels of play. He said that middle school is a time for players to learn fundamentals and basics of the sports and to have fun. Junior varsity teams are similar, but with a little more emphasis on winning.
"For varsity teams, it's simple," he said. "We play to win championships. If not, then that team's goals aren't set high enough."
Flores led off the program with what he called his "Vision for CASD Athletics," which includes a culture of professionalism, a culture of collaboration (among Trojan teams) and a culture of excellence.
He said, "This school has the capability of being known at a national level."
One of the parents, Adrean Mitchell, said, "This is my son's first year of playing and I was interested in learning about the program. It sounds like they have a lot to offer the kids."
Her son Amari, who will be playing football, was asked if he learned anything and he said, "It's going to take dedication."
Trojan football coach Mark Saunders said, "I think Jeremy is going to be fine. He's definitely a sports guy and because he's new he'll bring changes and different ideas. And I think he understands the dynamics of football."
Saunders, in his session with the football parents, stressed more than just football. In his four years he has sent 16 players off to play football in college and he plans to have a study hall before practices this season.
He said, "I'm not backing down (from what he believes in). I need you to trust me — we're going to be doing everything in our power to make your kid a better player and a better student.