Unit 19 receives grant for certifying high school coaches

Unit 19 receives grant for certifying high school coaches

Scranton, Pa.—School districts in Northeastern Educational Intermediate Unit 19 (NEIU) are the recipients of a $20,000 grant earmarked for training and certifying Unit 19 interscholastic sport coaches.

The grant was spearheaded by Senator John Blake of the 22nd Senatorial District.

“I was glad to advocate for this grant funding to help our local schools offset the costs of PIAA-required coaching education courses,” Blake said. “As a former student-athlete, I understand and appreciate the important role that coaches play in the lives of our high school students. These courses will help to ensure that our students have access to quality coaches that positively impact their athletic and educational careers.”

Article XIV of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) by-laws requires all interscholastic coaches to complete approved coaching education courses within two years of the date of hire. The approved courses funded by the grant are Coaching Principles and Sport First Aid, offered by Human Kinetics Coach Education, long-time coaching education provider of the PIAA and Pennsylvania State Athletic Directors Association (PSADA). Coaches take the courses either online or in the classroom, taught by certified instructors.

Coaching clinics will be held in March and April. Unit 19 superintendent Bob McTiernan will contact school districts in NEIU19 with specifics on how to apply for grant money and enroll coaches in the clinics. A total of four workshops are planned, all hosted by NEIU 19. The workshops will be scheduled to allow teacher-coaches to attend on school days for professional development and Act 48 credit. Coaches who are teachers will earn 30 Act 48 continuing education hours for participating in the workshop and successfully completing the Coaching Principles and Sport First Aid courses. As coaches are required to take both courses for PIAA certification, the grant covers training for roughly 200 coaches.

Leading coach educators in Northeast Pennsylvania applaud NEIU 19 and speak highly of the curriculum offered through the program. All three are Coaching Principles and Sport First Aid instructors.

“It is a pleasure and an honor to work with Bob McTiernan and NEIU 19 to help coaches achieve PIAA certification,” said Jack O'Malley, chairman, Bochicchio Sports Character Initiative. “Human Kinetics has provided the highest quality coach education for more than 35 years, and the in-the-classroom delivery method offers interaction and exchange between coaches and instructors that adds a real-life dimension to the learning experience.”

“The courses are great for all coaches, those beginning their coaching journey as well as veteran coaches,” said Mark Kirsten, principal, Wallenpaupack South Elementary School, and secretary, Creating Outstanding Athletic Leaders (COAL). “Coaches receive excellent instruction to help them improve in their roles and equip their students to become better athletes and citizens.”

Tomm Evans, former University of Scranton swim coach and current English department chair at North Pocono High School, is pleased with the program as well. “We have been using the courses in our coaching minor/concentration at the University of Scranton for 30 years, and we’ve seen some 1,500 students earn certification.”