What Can You Do with a Coaching Degree?

W. Stephen Parker
W. Stephen Parker
Middle/high school principal; M.A. in Educational Leadership
Coach kneeling on the ground and talking with his soccer team.

A degree in coaching offers opportunities in a wide variety of areas. Often coaches are also certified to teach other subject areas and coaching is done in the extra-curricula areas, such as football, basketball, baseball etc. However, specialized coaching degrees allow a person to focus specifically on certain areas they are selected to coach. I do want to emphasize that a coach is also a teacher. The main difference is that their classroom is a field, court or venue usually designated for extra-curricular activities. But make no mistake, a true coach cares about his students and is always looking for ways to grow his students.

What is a Degree in Coaching?

A coaching degree is usually a bachelor’s degree in an area relevant to which the person will serve as a coach. The overall goal of this degree is to gain skills in the specific area of coaching to enhance the skills of the students a person will be working with. While in many cases this will involve student athletes, it is not strictly limited to that. Coaching degrees can work with students in areas such as sports medicine, physiology, as well as nutrition and fitness to name a few.

What Jobs are Available with a Degree in Coaching?

While the jobs that can be found with a degree in coaching are many, listed below are a few of the more common jobs most with said degree would be found:

Athletic Director

An athletic director is basically the head coach of an entire athletic program. It is the responsibility of the athletic director to ensure that all programs under his care are always run efficiently and professionally. Athletic directors are responsible for hiring and firing of personnel, scheduling of events, securing transportation of players, and budgeting, just to name a few. Athletic directors are also seen as the face of the athletic department. It is important for the athletic director to be seen at team events and as much as possible putting on a positive outlook. It is the job of the athletic director to make sure all athletic teams support groups have all the tools they need to be safe and successful. The athletic director is also responsible for resolving conflicts that arise within the athletic department. The athletic director is the face of the entire athletic department.

Head Coach

A head coach of an athletic team is responsible for all aspects of the team they have been selected to lead. This person must possess skills of all aspects of the athletic team. Though the head coach does not have to have a deep resume of knowledge for all aspects of the team, he is still ultimately responsible for ensuring the students have the best possible opportunity for success. Therefore, the head coach is responsible for hiring highly qualified assistants to help in his endeavor. Additionally, the head coach must be well versed in safety, motivation, media relations and possess great organizational skills. These are all imperative to running an excellent athletic team program. Head coaches must also be well versed in working with parents of student athletes as well. Head coaches must oversee the program, but also be able to delegate authority to others on his staff and give all involved the feeling of importance within the team framework.

Assistant Coach

An assistant coach is just as the name suggests. His position is to assist the head coach in working with students to help them to be the best they can be. In sports where there are multiple positions for player participation, an assistant coach might be labeled as a “position coach”. Football for example has many positions on a team. An assistant has a high degree of experience as an offensive or defensive line coach, or wide receivers, running backs, or kickers, etc. The assistant coach may well be more experienced than the head coach in a particular area, thereby making him invaluable to the head coach in expert teaching in and area where the head coach is not as experienced. Assistant coaches are invaluable to the head coach in that the free him up to take care of the other responsibilities that come from over seeing an entire team. In large programs, such as high schools, colleges and professional sports programs, the assistant coaches are the heart and soul of the coaching team.

Club or Travel Sports Coach

A club coach, or travel sports coach is still an athletic coach in every sense of the word. However, these coaches often are responsible for much more than just “on field” coaching. In many instances, club or travel coaches are responsible for every aspect of the team including those things an athletic director might normally take care of. Club and or travel coaches often are responsible for recruiting players, fund raising for equipment and travel expenses, making schedules, making travel arrangements including hotel and eating accommodations to name a few. Further, these coaches often must solicit chaperones and drivers to aid players to and from the various venues of participation. Club and travel sports coaches are often compensated for the job they do. However, some are volunteer either because of their own children’s participation, or simply for the love of the game. Regardless of the reason they coach in this area, often the club or travel sports coach literally “does it all”.

A degree in coaching is a key to unlocking opportunities in a wide variety of areas. This degree enables a person to find employment in the areas they are interested in working. However, the one thing a degree in coaching should instill in everyone with the degree is that the job is still educational. Regardless of the degree, a person who desires to “coach”, should first and foremost care about the ones they are coaching and remember, coaching is still teaching. A lot can be learned from a coach and from athletic participation. However, a “coach” should always remember it’s not about him, it is about those he is entrusted to coach. The coach who puts his students first, and genuinely cares about their growth, is not just a coach, he is a successful coach. While winning of course is the goal, the first goal should always be the growth of the student. Therefore, a coach is, first and foremost, a teacher.

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