Pros, cons seen in coaching two different sports at Norwich

Norwich University is home to three coaches who coach multiple sports. Two of those coaches are head coaches, and one is even at the helm of two varsity programs. Holding down two coaching jobs is not an easy thing to do, because of the time-consuming nature of being a full-time collegiate coach.

Coaching more then one sport is “a common practice, but some schools are trying to move away from it,” said Norwich Athletic Director Anthony Mariano. For an athletic director, the concern is that coaching multiple sports “eats into the recruiting time as well as the non-traditional seasons for both sports.”
Being a full-time collegiate coach at Norwich or other schools means it’s not just something that is done on game day, but is a job that demands effort year-round. When any particular sport is out of season, coaches still need to take part in off-season training. In addition to those responsibilities, coaches must also focus on recruiting to fill future rosters.
Coach John Rhoades has been coaching baseball and football at Norwich for 10 years. “You try the best to your ability to make sure both sports are getting the attention they need,” said Rhoades.
Rhoades is an assistant coach on the football team and head coach of the baseball team. He was hired to coach both sports here and prior to coming to Norwich, coached at the University of New Hampshire, Plymouth State College and Bowdoin College.
Rhoades does admit that coaching two sports is a daunting task, but with help from his assistant coaches, he finds a way. He said the biggest toll is on his personal life and time. “It is more my family it really affects and that is where it hits me the most,” he said.
He is fortunate that he can count on two very experienced assistants to help manage his workload. His assistant baseball coaches are Frank Pecora and Kevin Ryan who together can count 15 Vermont State Championships with Northfield High School.
Beth Van Parys is the women’s head soccer and lacrosse coach and she dos the same balancing act as Rhoades. “It’s my job. Yes, I do focus on both teams; it is just a matter of balancing time,” said Van Parys. She says the key is “sometimes taking a couple days and reloading.” She is the only coach at Norwich to be the head coach of two sports.
Like Coach Rhoades, Van Parys was hired to coach both sports and has been doing so for the past five years. Erica Adams is Coach Van Parys assistant for both teams.
“Sometimes it is a lot to handle because we have not started stuff for one sport when we should have,” said Holly Lutz, 19, a criminal justice major from Hamburg, N.J., who plays for Van Parys on both the soccer and lacrosse teams.
Lutz knows her coach has a lot on her plate, but likes not having to get reacquainted with a new coach every season.
Mariano said not having dual roles is “in the best interest of the coaches so they can concentrate on their sport.” But Norwich does not have the budget to have some coaches not double up. Though it would be ideal to have coaches only coach one sport , he says, “we are not there yet hopefully someday we will.”

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