CHAIN OF COMMAND PART 1 talked about establishing a strong and effective Chain of Command for your Athletic Department.  You read that there are three components to making a Chain of Command strong and effective.  The first component is that your superiors must be on board with what you are trying to do with your Chain of Command.  They absolutely must understand that the Chain of Command is to be supported at all times once it is made formal to your community.

The second main component of your Chain of Command is that you must publicize and communicate what your plan is.



You must put your Chain of Command in your Athletic Handbook, and make sure that your Coaching Staff discusses the Athletic Department’s Chain of Command often, especially at their first meeting to kick off the season.  The Chain of Command that I created when I first started as an Athletic Director is below:

“When a Student-Athlete and/or their parent/s have an issue that they feel needs to be resolved, there is a proper way to conduct the process. The proper way is to follow the chain of command, meaning the order by which you handle the matter. “

The Chain of Command is:

Student/Athlete and Parent

Asst. Coach

Head Coach

Athletic Director

High School Principal


Board of Trustees

It’s important that EVERYONE is on the same team! Remember, it’s all about the kids!


a) Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees, responsible to the people, is the ruling agency for the School. It is responsible for interpreting the needs of the community and requirements to the professional organization.

b) Superintendent

The superintendent is responsible to administer the school according to adopted policies of the rules and regulations of the school board. It is his/her duty to establish a definite school athletic policy and to have an understanding of that policy.

c) High School Principal

The principal is the official representative of the school and is directly responsible for the general attitude of the student body and the conduct of the athletic affairs by the athletic administrator and the coach.

d) Athletic Director

The Athletic Director is directly responsible to the principal. The primary responsibility of the athletic director is the administration and supervision of the interscholastic athletic program. The athletic director’s duties will be those described in his/her job description and any others as designated by the principal. He/she will provide the leadership necessary for the day-to-day operation of the athletic department.

e) Head Coaches

All head coaches shall be responsible to the Athletic Director for the total operation of their respective sports programs. Head coaches shall act as official representatives of the school as they carry out their interscholastic athletic responsibilities.



1. Have your Student-Athlete meet with his/her coach to discuss the issue. On most occasions, this coach-to-athlete meeting can resolve issues or questions. As stated earlier, this is part of our young men and women learning to grow as adults.

2. Contact the coach directly to set up a meeting to discuss your concern. Some coaches may mandate that your child attend that meeting.

3. Please DO NOT attempt to talk to a coach before or after a contest or practice. Our coaches are responsible for supervision and safety of their athletes. In addition, these can be emotional times for both the parents and the coach. Meetings of this nature do not promote resolution.

If Another Step Is Necessary Beyond This Point

What can a parent do if the coach-athlete meeting (Step 1) AND the parent-coach meeting (Step 2) did not provide resolution?

4. Contact the Athletic Director to set up a meeting between yourself, your Student-Athlete, Head Coach and Athletic Director.

What can a parent do if the coach-athlete (Step 1) and the parent-coach (Step 2) and the Athletic Director-Coach-Parent meetings (Step 3) failed to solve the issue?

5.  Contact the Principal to set up a meeting between yourself, your Student-Athlete, Head Coach, Athletic Director and Principal.

The Chain of Command must be put in to your Athletic Handbook.

Parents and student-athletes should be mandated to sign a form each year acknowledging that they have read the Chain of Command.  This will put this document in front of them each year; hopefully it is just a review of the process on an annual basis, and not something they have experienced intimately!

There are several ways that you can publicize this Chain of Command on your campus.  Here are some ideas: in a campus wide newsletter your school uses, your athletic website, principal’s weekly emails home, in handouts at your preseason meetings, on handouts at open houses, etc.

Without publicizing your Chain of Command regularly, you will not have everyone on the same page. This is the second component of your Chain of Command.