Let’s be creative in paying our football coaches

Pahrump Valley High School is on the verge of selecting a new head football coach. People have been complaining that the process is taking too long.

Chris Brockman, the high school principal, said the long process is necessary because he wants to ensure that the program continues in the same positive direction that former Coach Joe Clayton was headed.

Spring football is close and still no coach.

Brockman has a tough decision to make and it won’t be an easy one. The town should hear from the school soon. Finding coaches that can coach in rural Nevada is tough enough, but the school is also asking the coach to compete with Las Vegas schools.

When the high school was first established in the early 70s this was not the case. Pahrump competed with the rural schools, like Beatty, Pahranagat Valley and Tonopah.

Our teams did well and we were able to stay in the smaller leagues until 2008 when we were thrust into the Las Vegas arena due to our rapid growth as a community.

That was a horrible experience for our athletes. We routinely lost to Bishop Gorman on a grand scale in all sports, not just football. It was not uncommon to go to a football game and see the football team lose by 70 points.

Three years ago the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association made some adjustments to the playing field and placed Pahrump Valley in a more competitive environment and Division I-A was created.

The competition has been better. The football team made the playoffs their first year in Division I-A. Other teams like volleyball, soccer, baseball, track, golf, wrestling and softball have done the same.

Pahrump has won two state championships while in the Division I-A, in soccer and wrestling.

Football is different though. I say this because it requires a team of coaches with experience at different levels for the team to succeed, especially at the Division I-A level.

The Trojans want to continue to win but really can’t pay a coach to come to this town. When you look at the amount of hours that the football coaches volunteer for it is a huge sacrifice.

Like other sports they have the long bus rides and the long nights on the game day, but unlike other coaches they have to start preparing for their sport in May for a fall sport and they basically give up their summer in addition to the fall. So the coaches are getting paid for the fall season but not getting paid to give up their summer and spring.

In addition, the job comes with countless hours of dedication to watching hours of game film, and preparing practice schedules and making adjustments.

Joe Clayton made this sacrifice for three years as head coach and seven years as a high school assistant coach. In addition to this he also brought Pop Warner to this town. He will have two boys going to college next year and said he just couldn’t coach football and work an extra job to save money for his boys.

Our town is not like football towns in other areas that give large stipends to the coaches for coaching football. There are a lot of towns in Texas that do that. We can’t afford it.

In Austin, Texas in 2014, one coach made $138,984 to coach high school football. He was the highest paid coach in the Austin area. The second highest paid coach in Central Texas made $120,775.

Recently Las Vegas has been getting a lot of attention because former NFL players are making their way into Division I. Randall Cunningham coaching for Silverado is one. He will make his debut this fall.

That level of coaching has found its way into Division I-A. The Faith Lutheran Coach, Vernon Fox, played eight seasons in the NFL from 2002 until 2009 as a defensive back. He already has one state championship team under his belt.

The point being, the quality of coaches is getting better each year and Pahrump because of its geographical location might be left behind.

What can be done?

As a town we should give our coaches perks. It’s done all the time in the corporate world. Why not give the coaches free groceries at Smiths or free fast food meals from Burger King or even free housing?

As a town we have a lot of local businesses that could help with this project. It could be done like a food bank, but instead this bank could collect other things besides food, extra items businesses don’t necessarily need, like TVs, furniture, computers, but all new of course.

Is this legal? I am not really sure. I don’t see why not. This has been done in the past to attract teachers to rural areas.

It also doesn’t need to be just for football coaches but all coaches at the high school level.

It can be a small cooperative. If the businesses can’t outright donate an item, they might give the coach a huge discount on a new car, like 50 percent off.

If you want to attract single, young coaches to the area, someone could donate an old house and the community could fix it up and it could be used to house single coaches for free or a reduced rate.

People could volunteer to feed the coaches by producing vegetables, canned goods and even meat. I raise chickens for example and would be willing to give the cooperative free eggs. I know many people with gardens that could donate vegetables. I even know a guy who produces his own ale.

This probably sounds absurd to some people but let’s face it, we need to get creative if we want our athletes to have top quality coaches to be competitive. We need to do more than just hope some NFL player retires in Pahrump.

Speaking of that, we do have one player who played at Penn State for four years and played in the NFL for three years. Curtis, if you’re reading this, please volunteer.

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