High school looks to hire coach first, then AD

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By Kristin Beck

With the recent retirement announcement of athletic director and girls basketball head coach Randy Mefford, Carroll County High School has big shoes to fill.

Principal John Leeper said his first priority is to find a new head basketball coach. “We feel like that position is the one that needs to be filled the earliest because it has a more direct impact on our teenagers’ lives,” he said. “That being the case, we want them hired first so they can begin scheduling summer workouts, so they can begin doing open gyms in the spring, so they can begin working with our girls and getting a solid plan to develop in the summer and get us ready for basketball season next year.”

Once a basketball coach is in place, an athletic director will be hired. The high school also is looking to hire new golf coaches for the girls and boys teams.

The athletic director position has been posted on the Carroll County School Districts website, the KHSAA website and on the Kentucky High School basketball association web server. “We’ve advertised it as well as we can with all of the Kentucky representatives,” Leeper said. “We are getting some people that are finding out about it over in Indiana and even as far away as Iowa.”

Leeper said about 20 people have contacted him with interest in the job. A lot of people are interested in whether or not the girls basketball coaching position and the athletic director position are one in the same. He said that is not necessarily the case.

“Additionally, many people think Randy Mefford has been making a very large salary doing both of these jobs and that is simply not the case,” the principal said. “He was making a very modest amount and doing a lot of work for just a little bit of pay. Essentially what we would love to have is someone who is already teaching, who would do the athletic director position as well as teach. But that doesn’t necessarily have to be that way.”

According to the KHSAA job posting for athletic director, Carroll County High School is seeking a qualified individual with an athletic background and someone who has knowledge of KHSAA rules. The school may have a teaching position that may be tied in with the athletic director position. The position was posted on Feb. 22, the night Mefford announced his retirement.

Mefford said the new athletic director should have knowledge of all the different sports offered at the high school, as well as knowledge of the KHSAA rules. “You’ve got to find someone good at working with people and being organized,” he said. Mefford is under contract through June 30 and said he will be available to help the new hire get accustomed to the job.

For the new girls basketball coach, Mefford said they need to be knowledgeable about the game and have previous coaching experience, preferably girls. They also need to be a person with good character, someone who will be a role model for the student-athletes.

Ideally, the new head coach will be in the building all day long with the kids and then spend the additional time with them after school to develop them “not only as athletes, but as individuals and people,” Leeper said.

“Any principal will tell you they want the best possible coach that they can have. That’s exactly what we want,” he said. “Is it better if the coach is a teacher in the building? Yes. Randy Mefford would agree. If he’s in the building all day long and is with those kids all day long, it makes him a better coach in the afternoon.”

Even though he was doing athletic director work, Mefford was still visible in the hallways and in the cafeteria at lunch and would check on the girls during the day, Leeper said. However, he also acknowledged that this does not always work. For example, it would not be fair to the girls to hire a teacher and tell them they also have to coach.

Leeper said he is looking for someone that is innovative and energetic as the new AD. “We’re looking for somebody that can lead, not just a small group of people, but can lead a community,” he said. “Because our athletic director at Carroll County High School is heavily involved, not just in high school programs, but with middle school programs and elementary and rec league programs. So we need somebody that can really promote the core values of Carroll County athletics across the board.”

There is no deadline on the AD, but Leeper said he would like to hire the girls basketball coach by the end of April and the athletic director as quickly as possible after that. Interested applicants must send in a resume and fill out an application on the district website. A college degree is preferred and a teaching certificate is preferred, but not required. Applicants need to have an understanding of how to teach, both the students as well as coaches, Leeper said.

Leeper said Mefford will not necessarily be involved in the hiring process, but he is involved in the recruiting process because he is so well-known around the state. A committee of teachers will make a recommendation to site-based, which will make the ultimate decision.

The position is salaried and pays $7,500. Leeper said once people find out the job does not pay a large salary, some of their interest wanes.

“Having been an athletic director before myself, it’s something you do because you love a community,” he said. “It’s because you love athletics. It’s because you love what athletics does for our youth today and the opportunity that it provides for them to learn so many things beyond the classroom. It’s like any coaching position, the pay is not worth it. You have to find a lot of satisfaction in all of the other things that go on with developing athletes.”