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Adding an Assistant or Game Manager for Extra Help

By Dr. David Hoch, CMAA on October 03, 2017 hst Print

With all of the responsibilities and the extensive time it takes to accomplish everything, an athletic administrator has an extremely hectic and perhaps, at times, overwhelming position. Without some extra help, some individuals may face extreme frustration and possible burnout.

While game management is only one of the hundreds of these responsibilities, it does consume many evenings, particularly in the fall and winter seasons and makes for extremely long days. Help covering these contests represent a good starting point to provide some relief. And there are basically two possibilities – adding an assistant athletic director or game managers for individual contests.

What is the difference between the two options? An assistant, for example, should have some knowledge, experience and ability involving a full-range of tasks and duties and not just providing coverage of contests. This individual would be assigned to help with specific aspects of athletic management, some of which would be handling occasional game management responsibilities in place of the athletic administrator.

A game manager, as the title implies, has a very specific responsibility and that is to be the supervisor at an assigned contest. An out-of-season coach, a teacher or an assistant principal could easily fill this part-time position with a little training. With written step-by-step guidelines and one evening “shadowing” the athletic director while he is managing a game, an individual with a basic understanding of athletics should be able to handle the responsibilities.

However, the difference goes beyond the actual scope or duties of each position. It will probably cost more to fund an assistant athletic director’s position than paying for game managers for individual contests. The undetermined variable, however, is the number of games that would be covered by someone other than the athletic director.

While adding an administrative assistant could also provide help, the following suggestions should be considered specifically with regard to assisting with coverage of games.

  • Prepare a proposal detailing the hours and responsibilities involved in game management requirements for a season. Hard data can go a long way in an effort to substantiate the reasons for additional personnel.
  • Invite your principal or superintendent to join you in the step-by-step procedures to set up, manage and close up after a typical contest. Show this individual the detail and effort involved. And then explain that this process is repeated several times a week, week-after-week during a season.
  • Create a job description for both assistant and game manager positions. These documents should include the basic responsibilities and should be shared with your supervisor – the principal or superintendent – so that this individual can get a clearer picture of what is involved. Also, a job description for both alternatives is necessary in order to draw a fair comparison between these two alternatives.
  • Take a look at a typical seasonal schedule and try to determine how many evenings should be covered in an ideal situation and what amount would be the bare minimum in order for you to meet personal and family needs. With this information, you can develop a cost analysis of adding an assistant or utilizing game managers.
  • Come up with a creative way to fund game management personnel if inclusion in the budget is not possible. One option is to use gate revenue to pay the individuals filling this position. First, you would need approval from your supervisor and follow the proper payment procedures that are used in your district. This would probably involve depositing funds in your school account and writing checks for each person filling this occasional position.
  • Schedule a meeting with your principal or superintendent to present your data, share possible solutions and ask what help they think is ultimately possible. With insight and feedback from this conversation, prepare your formal proposal.

If your proposal is approved, you will still want to monitor your game management responsibilities. As schedules expand or additional sports are added, you may need to tweak your coverage plan. Of course, if your suggestion for providing help isn’t approved, you will want to continue to document your time and efforts. It also means that you should network and keep looking for creative solutions.

There should be little doubt that adding an additional individual, or several, to provide help is a key ingredient in order to survive both during a season and for a long, successful career.