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Coaches ready for budget cuts

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Whether on the field or in the classroom, Jack Welch views his coaches as teachers, and he believes nothing — not even districtwide budget cuts — will prevent them from excelling.

In a recent school board meeting, Copperas Cove Independent School District Superintendent Joe Burns announced the district is bracing for federal budget cuts to be revealed later in the month, possibly resulting in a 30 percent loss of $16 million in federal Impact Aid.

Consequently, across-the-board budget cuts will reduce the amount of available funds for school programs, including athletics. A 5 percent cut to curriculum instruction and extracurricular activities means coaches will be required to teach more classes.

But Copperas Cove’s longtime athletic director and head football coach does not see the cuts negatively impacting the coaches or sports programs.

“Our coaches teach, and they teach well,” Welch said. “So you want your best teachers to be in that classroom and have a hands-on experience with the kids, so I think it’s good. Every time I hire a coach, I explain how important it is to have that business in the classroom. We always look to be the best teachers we possibly can be. Budget cuts happen, but I think our district is doing really fine.”

Athletically, Copperas Cove performed strongly this school year. The volleyball team won its second consecutive district championship, the football team reached the postseason for a 10th consecutive season and the 2014 boys basketball team is on the verge of making a return trip to the playoffs.

While coaches will be required to spend more time in the classroom, it should not hinder their performances with their respective teams, according to Welch.

“I don’t think it’ll affect us any,” he said. “It’s not much different than we do right now. Our coaches are already in the classroom. In our situation, they’re going to pick up some more sections, but that’s not a big deal.”

Most coaches are accustomed to hectic days and long hours. A typical day for Bullawgs football coaches during the fall begins with staff meetings at 6:30 a.m. and ends between 9 and 10 p.m. from Monday through Wednesday. On Thursdays, they conduct practice in the afternoon before coaching sub-varsity games, and Fridays are varsity game days. Saturdays include more meetings, practices and film sessions.

Additionally, coaches must attend to all their teaching responsibilities, and the totality of everything can be very stressful. But Welch simply sees it as part of the job and firmly believes his coaches can handle any extra obligations that result from the upcoming budget cuts.

“Any time you have budget cuts or things that happen, you’ve got to tighten your belt,” he said. “You’ve got to be positive about it, and the bottom line is you’ve got to get yourself up, keep moving and do the best you can.”

Contact Clay Whittington at clayw@kdhnews.com

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