Faced with the unenviable task of replacing high school teacher-coaches on an annual basis, Aledo ISD Athletic Director Tim Buchanan (who also dabbles in football head coaching duties for the 4-time state champ Bearcats) looks within the courts, fields and classrooms of the Aledo school district, first.
Preparation for the 2012-13 school year proved to be an organizational chart shuffle from within, but one that is a philosophical fit for the more than two-decade Aledo coach.
“I really believe all coaches should begin their coaching at middle schools,” Buchanan said. “It teaches you how to be a coach, because you are coaching [all positions for the sport] at that level. You are the head coach.
“There is a little more specialization at the freshman football level and a little more than that at the JV level. And by the time you get to the varsity level, we have determined which area or position a coach is most effective.”
The current Aledo varsity staff reflects the method of moving up through the ranks. Robbie Jones began his stint as a middle school boys coach and is now the Bearcats’ offensive coordinator. Rusty Johnson, the head coach for girls basketball, started out at the middle school, also.
Buchanan looks for potential personnel at the lower grade levels with some confidence that the incoming coaches are cognizant of what is going on around them, and that the hard work and perserverence will reap rewards.
“I’m pretty sure the people we hire are aware that many of our coaches at the high school level started at the middle school level,” he said of the new hires. “They know if you’re a good coach and if you have the right teaching field, then you’re going to move to the high school.”