Visible changes are beginning to take shape on Goose Creek CISD high school campuses for athletics. The auxiliary fields are getting new turf with the baseball and softball fields to follow. Additional changes are taking place behind the scenes that are key components of upgrading district programs.
For the first time in 15 years, coaches are receiving a raise in their stipends. The boost in pay for coaching a sport was designed to help keep Goose Creek competitive as other districts raise their base pay.
“It’s a healthy increase and helps match us competitively with comparable districts,” Athletic Director Dr. Bernie Mulvaney said. “For the longest time, Goose Creek CISD’s starting salary was so much significantly higher than the other area schools that we didn’t have to add the stipend. As other salaries catch up, we were lacking on the stipend.”
All coaches other than head football coaches received the stipend increase. The football coaches are also campus coordinators, which is an administrative position. A 4.5% raise on the administrative pay scale has been awarded in the district.
In addition to financial compensation for coaches, the district is instituting a trial for double blocking in class scheduling in athletics. After consultation with building principals, football and girls basketball were the sports selected for the trial.
“What we are looking at is using the athletic hours wisely and efficiently,” Mulvaney said. “We took what Galena Park does and will double block the fourth and fifth hour before lunch.”
Mulvaney said the UIL allows 60 minutes per day for athletics in a period. Without double blocking, athletics has been given a 50-minute period. Between changing and hustling to and from class, the teams are left with 40 minutes.
“In a longer period backing up to lunch, we can be more efficient with our time,” Mulvaney said.
Lee Gander head coach Tim Finn said in the first year, there are lessons to be learned in utilizing the period.
“We are kicking those ideas around,” he said. “If we have 100 percent of our kids in there, it will be awesome. We are excited about having the extra time in the week.”
During his tenure at Wharton, Finn said the school had double blocking in a couple of forms different from the pilot program.
“It is just important to see the kids every day,” Finn said.
Monique Everett, the girls basketball coach at Sterling, has prior experience with double blocking at Aldine Davis and expects it to be beneficial to the program.
“The district I came from, we were blocked the whole day,” she said. “It was wonderful. We were able to get a lot done in the preseason.
“It is definitely a lot better when you have the block. You don’t feel as rushed. You can still get things done in the 50-minute period. But I am very positive about it and excited about getting it.”
Whether or not double blocking becomes available to all sports depends on a couple of factors according to Mulvaney. The first is academic success. With double blocking, a student has one less opportunity to earn credits. Should the student stumble in a class, it can be harder to recover.
“We also need to see a marked difference on the field,” Mulvaney said.
“We are trying to put our kids and coaches in a position to be the most successful on the field. We are taking care of our kids physically and emotionally.”
The district is also addressing safety at the sub-varsity level. This season, each junior high will have a dedicated trainer on site for every practice and every game.
“We are the only school in Texas with stand-alone trainers in junior high,” he said.