September/October 2019 - 51

season goals on notecards and compare the two.
" So if a kid says, 'I want to run my personal best in the
800 meters,' and a parent writes, 'I want my kid to get a
full college scholarship,' and that's communicated up front,
that will help a coach down the line, " Parola said.
Once a month during the school year the athletic
department hosts a " Friday Feast, " a potluck and
networking event that allows coaches to exchange ideas.
These informal gatherings are best utilized by teachercoaches,
Parola said. Hiring someone who can also teach
is a purposeful outcome for every coaching vacancy. But
matching a coach with a teaching position is a daunting
puzzle. Parola leans on his vast network of administrators
and coaches to find the right fit.
" I don't think it would be healthy for me to force the
best coach on a department chair if they are not the best
teacher, " Parola said. " I'm a believer in talking to as many
ADs that sit in the chair as possible. We talk and compare
and communicate all the time. "
One colleague Parola speaks with regularly is Dr.
Andrew Lambert, athletic director at Lake Zurich High
School, just 6 miles west of Mundelein. During a lunch
meeting in 2017, Parola told Lambert how he had to
fill three coaching jobs, and he expressed concern over
matching candidates with the available teaching positions.
Lambert, who had just departed Wauconda High School
for Lake Zurich, said he knew of two candidates who fit
the job description. One happened to be a math teacher at
Wauconda, and the other didn't need a teaching position.
Both eventually got the jobs.
" He was able to fill a physical education opening with the
wrestling job, " Lambert said. " But when we met he had this
schematic written up. It's trying to figure all of that out. "
Having a solid working relationship with academic
leaders is critical when hiring coaches, Lambert said. He
meets regularly with department heads, human resources
officials, and assistant principals to share information on
job openings and compare notes on ongoing applicants.
" They'll say, 'Hey, I know I'm going to have two math
openings this year, what coaching positions are you
looking for?' Or we'll call or text and say, 'Hey can you chitchat
about this potential candidate?' " said Lambert, who
has hired 11 coaches since taking over at Lake Zurich in
2017. " The biggest challenge is finding coaches that can be
teachers as well. And once we get them there, how do we
support them? "
Parola's rapid hiring pace is expected to slow in
2019-20. But there is a new football coaching staff this
fall, a new girls soccer coach in the spring, and a boys
soccer coaching vacancy in 2020. That means résumés
to review, interviews to conduct, and colored binders to
switch out.
" I'm always reflecting and learning from experiences, "
Parola said. " You are changing and evolving all the time. "
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September/October 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of September/October 2019

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