Steamboat Springs With less than a month before the first practices of the season, the Steamboat Springs girls basketball team is still without a coach.
Principal Mike Knezevich said the district has applicants, and will begin interviewing candidates next week. Depending on how the interviewing process goes, Knezevich said he hopes to have a coach in by the end of next week or the beginning of the next.
"We're not just to the point where we need to get someone in," he said. "We have a real good candidate pool to go from, and I think we're getting there, and that is why we're ready to move on with the interviews."
The position came open Aug. 10, when former coach Ashley Berggren was informed her contract as girls basketball coach would not be renewed. Berggren was a probationary teacher with a one-year contract. Principal Mike Knezevich has said Berggren's 19-29 record in two seasons as coach had nothing to do with the decision not to renew her teaching contract. Knezevich also said when Berggren was hired, it also took place around Nov. 1.
Winter sports practices are scheduled to begin Nov. 11. In previous years, the girls began holding open gym workout sessions in October.
Junior Lizzie Stoll said she likely won't play basketball this year because of the uncertainty surrounding the coaching vacancy.
"We lost most of our starters, so we really needed to focus on coming together," Stoll said.
Several girls from the basketball team said they met with Knezevich earlier this year. The players said they were under the impression that a coach would be in place by now.
"We kind of feel like we're not a priority," said senior Erin Gleason, the only returning starter from last year's team.
Knezevich said he had hoped to have "somebody on board," by October, but he didn't find the right candidate for the job. He said he's posted the job on a local, statewide and national level.
"Has it been an optimal thing? No," he said. "We've had some open gyms so the girls can play: and my hope for the coach is, they don't just bring a system in, they match a system with their players."
The process of hiring a coach involves a committee of parents, staff members and players interviewing each applicant and answering three questions about the candidate. After the committee is done, references are checked, information is gathered and the final decision on a candidate is made by the administration, Knezevich said.
"We have treated this hiring differently," Knezevich said, "We've gone above and beyond."