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High School Coaches Need Some Credentials

December 13, 1986

The recent flap over suspended Laguna Beach football Coach Cedrick Hardman is a clear-cut example of what happens when non-credentialed individuals are allowed to head programs in our public schools. The issue is more than drug abuse; the issue is the integrity of having trained, certificated personnel instructing students.

It appears that the Laguna Beach School District has grabbed a non-certificated individual off the streets to coach its football team. Would anyone do the same for a math, English or biology course?

I'm really ashamed of our coaching profession for not demanding higher standards. Would the medical profession allow a non-certificated person to practice medicine? I'm surprised that the CIF and/or the Orange County Athletic Directors Assn. or the Southern California Football Coaches Assn. has not demanded a policy whereby every head coach must be a college graduate, properly credentialed and a certified faculty member in order to be a head coach.

Substance abuse is only one part of this kind of situation. Players who are coached by former professional football players, instead of professional coaches, are often taught that victory can be secured through intimidation, late hits and dirty tactics. There is no place for this in high school football.

It's not hard for a coach to get kids to like him. However, popularity is not necessarily an indication that a coach is a good leader. Anyone who gets involved in drug abuse deserves our sympathy, but they must not be put into role-model situations such as coaching.

TOM MEISS

Santa Ana

Tom Meiss was football coach at Santa Ana High School from 1978-'83.

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