Shane Dunaway: Prep coaches, parents: Help us, help you

Published 6:55 am Wednesday, March 2, 2022

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During the course of my career, I have become accustomed to a common grievance held by some high school coaches and parents – why doesn’t the newspaper cover our team or my children?

Social media platforms and the local sports editor’s email inbox seem to be where the bulk of those complaints are submitted. While I’m not trying to invalidate these  concerns, I would like to give any angry coaches or parents a bit of perspective when it comes to the realities of modern-day journalism.

Most, if not all, newsrooms across the country have experienced significant staffing cutbacks. At my previous job working for The Daily Home in Talladega, we had two staff members dedicated solely to sports coverage in a two-county coverage area featuring over a dozen high schools, and that was its own challenge. We did our best, but we understood at the end of the day, not everyone was going to be happy. 

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Here at The Selma Times-Journal, we don’t have the luxury of a dedicated sports desk, but we still have the desire to make sure your teams and players are getting the accolades and credit they deserve for their hard work. For us to do that, it requires teamwork and a free flow of information from the school and its coaches to us.

Sometimes, coaches just don’t want to call in the games, and I get it. You’re on the bus headed back from a school two hours down the road and you just lost a nail-biter to a Top 10-ranked team. If I was in your shoes, I’d probably be too emotionally drained to make that phone call. 

Is there another alternative? Maybe so. 

MaxPreps happens to be a great resource for compiling information, and in the age of analytics, I’m surprised more coaches aren’t using the site.

I believe if all coaches either took the time or dedicated a few minutes of an assistant coach’s time to logging game statistics there, it would facilitate the flow of information to us for not just writing game stories, but also for when it’s time to pick an all-county team or nominate our coverage area’s best for all-state.

I’d love to physically be able to be present to cover every high school sports outing I could possibly make it to because there aren’t many things that beat the excitement of attending a rivalry game, watching it go into double-overtime and racing the clock to get the story in before deadline.

Until the technology exists to clone myself at least half-a-dozen times, let’s consider using the technology available and maximize our opportunities to get these talented student-athletes recognized.

Where do I find the time, you might ask? Simple. Use the time complaining about lack of coverage on social media to input the game information into MaxPreps.

Help us, help you.