Saugerties trustee highlights lack of women coaches in school sports

whistle“I look at these lists, and I see man, man, man,” Saugerties Board of Education member Damion Ferraro said as he looked over a list of athletic coaches proposed for the coming year. “Oh, look, here’s a cheerleading position; woman, woman.”

Speaking at the board’s Oct. 13 meeting, Ferraro said he found it hard to believe no qualified women are interested in coaching school sports. The board was reviewing recommendations for winter sports. Of 16 places, only two were women — Varsity Cheerleading Coach Amy Frohlich and Volunteer Assistant Regina Marcucci.

“What type of recruitment are we doing — and I’m not saying that we have to have a woman coaching a girls’ sport just to have that — I’m saying if you compare apples to apples we should be recruiting women to be positive role models for our daughters in this community, and also to get more women involved in sports.”

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Athletic director Dom Zarella explained that coaches are evaluated annually, and “right now, our programs are very strong. The soccer program, both male and female, their numbers are great, they are doing well. The football program, I’m happy to say, is on the right track.”

On the issue of female coaches coaching female teams, Zarella said, “I think what you need in a coach is a qualified coach, whether male or female. I do understand that it would be wonderful and in a perfect world to have a female coach for a female team.”

If there is more than one applicant, there will be an interview process, Zarella said. “My feeling was, I didn’t have any openings, and I didn’t want to get anyone’s hopes up, because we had a set roster of coaches,” he said. “I’m hearing that I was maybe a bit too pragmatic, and sometimes common sense and the legality of how you do things are contrary. So that is how it will be done. We will consistently post positions a month before each season.”

Coaches must pass courses in such areas as first aid, sports skills and others to be certified, Zarella said.

Ferraro emphasized that he was not criticizing the coaches on the list presented to the board for approval. He said he knows most of them and has confidence in their ability. “My only confusion is the process that happens,” he said.