Q: We are struggling to fill the position of Girls’ Head Soccer Coach and recently interviewed a great candidate who is a retired teacher/coach. The candidate has over 25 years’ experience and comes highly recommended. She just retired at the end of the 2015-16 school year and is willing to work with the soccer team, but only part-time. Can we hire this individual as our head coach?
A: No. According to UIL regulations, a head soccer coach must be a full-time employee of the district. As such, the retired teacher, if employed only part-time, must serve as the Assistant Coach for Girls’ Soccer. While the part-time, retire/rehire assistant coach could be responsible for coaching instruction and leadership, the teacher of record for PE/Athletics classes must be designated as the head coach.
School districts employing retired educators in a part-time capacity who have been retired for less than one calendar year avoid paying the TRS surcharge. When that individual is a coach, however, UIL rules and regulations also come into play. The general rule, found at Section 1202, states that a school is not eligible to participate in UIL competition for any athletic activity unless the head coach and assistant high school coaches are full-time employees of the school. “Full time” is defined in the rules as employment that is under contract with the school for the whole academic year and involves enough contractual duties to be considered a full-time employee by TRS and state law. There is a very limited exception, however, for retired teachers/coaches. Section 1202(3) states that a retired teacher/administrator who has 20 or more years of experience may serve as an assistant coach in all athletics (and as head coach for golf, tennis, cross country, track/field, swimming and wrestling). Keep in mind, however, that the TRS surcharge will be triggered if the assistant coach works more than the equivalent of 4 hours per regular work day. This may be common during the busy soccer season months where coaches must travel to games and tournaments, so it is important to review surcharge amounts and be prepared for these potential fees.