February 7, 2013

Editorial: Help from coaches essential


---- — The Press-Republican reports on sporting events at more than 25 area schools and four colleges — the most complete coverage in the North Country. And we couldn’t do it without help from the coaches.

Most people aren’t aware, but coaches and athletic directors have a vital role in getting us information about teams, players and game results.

Our small sports staff could never personally attend all the games that take place each night. Last Friday, for example, athletes from our area competed in men’s hockey, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, men’s and women’s indoor track, 14 high-school boys’ basketball games, one girls’ basketball game, two girls’ and one boys’ hockey matches and a swim meet.

We plan the size of our sports section and our staffing based on what is going on each night. We count on the schools — traditionally the home-team coach — to call in and report on what happens at the games.

Our staff is waiting for each call — we don’t want to disappoint fans and family who look the next morning for the reports. And it all comes in at once, so you can imagine how hectic it is in our sports department each night as our press deadline approaches.

Most area coaches are cooperative; they know how much this means to the athletes, the school, the families. But we want to share some tips for coaches that can help ensure we get game reports published in an accurate and timely manner.

▶ Fill out the preseason coaching reports. We need team rosters with correct spellings of player names and their jersey numbers. That helps us accurately identify athletes in stories and pictures all season.

▶ Call in or email games as soon after they end as possible. We are working on deadline and can’t hold the entire press run for coaches who forget to call.

▶ Coaches and athletic directors should let us know as soon as a game is canceled or rescheduled. On Jan. 28, a bowling match and basketball game were canceled because of bad weather. We had budgeted space for those, and no one let us know about the cancellations. That happens far too often. The courtesy of a phone call allows us to adjust space on our already overcrowded sports pages.

▶ Out-of-area coaches don’t call games in to us, so local teams need to make the call when they are playing out of the region.

▶ Get all-star information and photos to us in a reasonable time. We have sometimes had to wait well into the following season to run all-star lists because we are missing information. The whole time, we are fielding complaints from eager families.

The Press-Republican appreciates the help of coaches and ADs, who are invaluable resources as we cover local sports. We count on our teamwork with them to give local athletes the recognition they deserve.