Loss of Assistant Coaches Felt Across Athletic Teams

(Photo provided by Katherine Douglas)

Last spring during the staff and faculty layoffs, seven part time assistant coaches were named among those being let go. The teams impacted include men’s soccer, baseball, football, cross country, track and field and men and women’s diving. This either forced the assistant coaches to return as unpaid volunteer coaches, or caused them to look for employment elsewhere. 

The loss of these positions were felt by coaches and athletes alike. 

For the men’s soccer team,  head coach Brad Hauter is left with only one assistant coach to help lead practice. 

We have a large roster and so the loss of an assistant coach has been big for us. It reduces another set of eyes in training, another set of ears in meetings and another set of hands in all that goes into running a program,” Hauter said.

These cuts mean the baseball team is not only short staffed, but  also need to reduce their 56 player roster to stay afloat. The loss of the assistant coach means that between 10-15 baseball players will be cut, due to the 28:1 player to coach ratio. 

This is the first time that head coach, Blake Allen has had to make cuts. 

“I am not looking forward to having to do this, and it is something that I do not take lightly, but it has to be done,” Allen said. “It will make for some tough conversations with each affected student-athlete, but we will all grow from it and hopefully everyone can move forward in a positive direction.” 

Sophomore cross country runner, Zane Williams commented  on his emotions surrounding the impact of that his assistant coach, Stuart Newstat, had on him. Not only did Newstat run with both the men's and women’s teams, he also frequently ate meals with his athletes at Hoover. Williams attributes these moments to the special bond that he and the team had with Newstat. 

“At times he didn't really seem like a coach. He seemed like a friend,” Williams said. “He was someone that you could trust and have fun with. He brought a lot of life to the team. I thank Stu for improving the team in that way.”

While these teams are still left with at least one assistant coach, Allistair Frost (the only diving coach) was also on the list. For junior diver Katherine Douglas, the termination of this position would have meant the end of her diving career. Frost decided to stay on as a volunteer coach for Douglas. This means that on top of Frost’s full-time job in Indianapolis, he will be driving to and from DePauw for diving practices without pay. 

“We [found] out about the cuts two days before I left for National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) regionals,” Douglas said. “That was definitely a stressful experience because we didn't know if he was going to be able to come back or if that was going to be his last meet ever as a diving coach...my last week ever as a diver.”

Beyond what this coaching loss would have meant for her athletic career, Douglas highlighted Frost’s personal impact on her. Douglas recalled an old teammate once saying that he was like a second dad. While Douglas initially thought that her teammate was “kind of crazy” for saying this, after spending two years under his guidance she recognizes the value of his mentorship, especially being the only diver for the past year. 

“He was always there. He was the teammate and the coach and the support system at the same time,” Douglas said. “So especially thinking about when he was going to leave, I realized that I shouldn't ever take him for granted because he's meant so much for not only my development as an athlete, but also my own personal development.”

When reflecting on the administrative layoff decisions, Douglas said she understood why it made sense on paper. However, these voided positions were felt across athletic teams, on athletic levels, but most importantly, on personal levels.