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  • Section J: Students



The most essential factor in an educationally sound athletic program is a well-qualified coach. The coach is an important link between sports and the instructional program, the principles of Maine’s system of Learning Results, between sports and character development, and between sports in school and long-term health and fitness. It is the intent of the Board that the school units provide quality coaching in its athletic programs. 


Coaching is a special kind of teaching. A coach not only teaches, refines and reinforces skills, but is also a role model for the student-athletes they coach. Beyond knowledge of the rules and fundamentals of their sport, a well-qualified coach will have organizational, communication, motivational and, especially, teaching skills. A well-qualified coach appreciates the influence they have as a role model and mentor and conducts him/herself accordingly. 

In addition to these fundamentals, a well-qualified coach: 

  1. Understands that, first and foremost, they are a teacher; 

  2. Is sensitive to the need of maturing adolescents and assists in their physical, intellectual, social and emotional development; 

  3. Recognizes that students are diverse in their characteristics and backgrounds including, age, maturity, gender, size and culture and adjusts their approach as appropriate;

  4. Has a realistic sense of the level at which student athletes should be expected to perform; 

  5. Promotes sportsmanship, self-discipline and respect, both on and off the playing field;

  6. Communicates in a positive manner rather than through intimidation; 

  7. Encourages competitive spirit, but not a “win at all costs” attitude; 

  8. Provides a fair opportunity for students to participate in competition; 

  9. Recognizes the difference between developmental sports programs and more intensive varsity-level sports; 

  10. Encourages student athletes to explore various athletic activities, both interscholastic and intramural, rather than to specialize in a single sport at an early age; 

  11. Recognizes the need for balance in the lives of student athletes, including academic, family and social needs; and 

  12. Adheres to the same standards of conduct with respect to students as classroom teachers are expected to do.


The Superintendent and their designee will be responsible for developing job descriptions for coaches and others on the athletic staff (e.g., assistant coaches, trainers) that are consistent with the Board’s view of coaching. Job descriptions will be approved by the Board.


It is the intent of RSU 21 to hire well-qualified coaches for all of its athletic programs. Because of the relationship between teaching and coaching, it will be the school unit’s practice to secure coaches, to the extent practicable, from its teaching staff. If it is necessary to secure individuals from outside the teaching staff, the Superintendent or their designee shall recommend only those persons deemed to have sufficient knowledge and experience to teach the fundamentals and rules of the sport, experience in working or volunteering with adolescents, and current training in sports first aid and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR). 

All persons hired as coaches or assistant coaches must have successfully completed, prior to the start of the season, National Federation of state High Schools (NFHS) required training (including First Aid/CPR, Concussions in Sports, Fundamentals of Coaching, and Sudden Cardiac Arrest, as well as any other training required by federal or state law). All persons hired as high school coaches in activities governed by the Maine Principals’ Association must meet all coaches eligibility requirements established by the MPA. 

All persons hired as coaches for activities governed by the Maine Principals Association (MPA) must agree to follow the MPA Code of Ethics, Board policies, school unit and Athletic Department administrative regulations. 

Consistent with the Board’s policies on hiring and nondiscrimination/equal opportunity/ affirmative action, the Superintendent or their designee will be responsible for developing and implementing procedures for recruiting, selecting, recommending and assigning coaches. No applicant will be hired as a coach or assistant coach without Maine Department of Education approval, including fingerprint and criminal background check requirements. 

Hiring of coaches shall be on an annual or seasonal basis, with no expectation of continued employment in a coaching position. 

Coaches may be disciplined or terminated in accordance with Board policies or administrative regulations. 


In an effort to maintain a well qualified coaching staff and the integrity of the school unit’s athletic programming, coaches will be evaluated annually. 

The Superintendent or their designee will be responsible for developing and implementing a process for evaluation of coaches. It is expected that the process will include a self-appraisal component, and that the administrative and self-appraisals will include knowledge of sports, coaching skills and techniques, organizational skills, attitudes, communication skills, behavior, and ethics. 

Cross Reference: JJI – Philosophy of Athletics 

JJIB – Sponsorship and Evaluation of Athletic Programs 

JJIBB – Sportsmanship 

JJIBC – Relations with Booster Groups (or alternative code KJA) 

GAB- Job Descriptions 

Adopted: 01/14/2008 

Revised: 04/26/2010 

Revised: 6/28/2021

  • Section J