Fifty plus applications have been put in for the head coaching position for the cross country and track and field teams at Keene State College.
The job has recently become available after current Head Coach Tom Pickering announced his resignation at the end of the current semester. Since then, the head coaching position has been posted on the NCAA market place. Athletic Director Philip Racicot said, “As expected, we’ve had a really strong interest in the position. Currently we have over 50 applicants for the role, many of whom have great credentials.”
One of the people tasked with searching for the new head coach is Assistant Athletic Director Abraham Osheyack. While Osheyack was not able to comment on the candidates themselves, he did say, “We are looking for a quality candidate who can come in and continue to grow the program and build on the good work that Coach Pickering has done over the last five years.” Osheyack is the chair of the search committee for the new track and cross country coach.
While the final say for who becomes head coach is ultimately up to Racicot, the athletes on both the track and cross country teams did get to air what they want in a new coach. Racicot said, “I met with the track and cross country teams last week to get their feedback; what they’re looking for in a coach and what characteristics they think are important.”
One of the athletes who is a part of the search committee is junior sprinter, Brandon Castor. Castor is on the scouting committee with fellow track athlete Lauren Perkowski. The scouting committee will be having meetings with potential coaches and giving them tours of campus. Castor said they can’t ask for the perfect coach but they can narrow it down to someone who is the best fit. “Something we are struggling with right now is numbers, so I would say we need stronger recruiting,” he said.
Recruiting is a big aspect of being a collegiate coach in all sports, but there are other factors that play into how well a coach fits. One challenge for the new head coach of KSC’s track and cross country teams is the lack of an outdoor track at KSC. Since there is no track, the incoming coach will be tasked with being creative when designing workout plans for the team. Castor said, “The ability to make modifications to the workout… is the biggest thing. We do all of our workouts in the rec basketball court, if not outside on pavement somewhere.”
Another hurdle for the new potential coach will be scheduling practices. Many of the athletes have classes all throughout the day, making it difficult to have one uniform practice time. Castor said, “The new coach, whoever it’s going to be, is going to need assistant coaches because we had about six to seven practices a day between morning, midday and night, just because of everyone’s class schedule.”
The search for a new coach is one of the most important things that an athletic director has to do. For Racicot, this is his first hiring since taking over as the new athletic director. Racicot said, “Obviously we want to make sure that we do our due diligence and do this the right way.” The “due diligence” becomes more difficult when there are over 50 applicants for the job.
While there is much due diligence to be done when looking for a new coach, the team was able to get their input in for what they want. Castor said, “Everyone had their own individual input as a group. Now it just comes down to Lauren [Perkowski] and myself, as well as the scouting committee, to make that final decision.”