SPORTS

Seat belt comes off Iowa basketball coaches

IGHSAU, IHSAA advisory committees approve a coaching box, effective immediately

Scenes like this — Frank Howell, celebrating a play in the 2005 state tournament — might become prevalent again on the Cedar Rapids Washington girls’ basketball bench. The Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union and Iowa High School Athletic Association are rescinding the seat-belt rule, giving coaches more freedom to stand and coach. (The Gazette)
Scenes like this — Frank Howell, celebrating a play in the 2005 state tournament — might become prevalent again on the Cedar Rapids Washington girls’ basketball bench. The Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union and Iowa High School Athletic Association are rescinding the seat-belt rule, giving coaches more freedom to stand and coach. (The Gazette)
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The seat belt has been unbuckled.

Upon recommendations from the IGHSAU and IHSAA basketball advisory committees and with the support of the IGHSAU Board of Directors — and contingent upon approval from the IHSAA Board of Control and the Joint Committee — the head coach may stand within a designated coaching box, effective this season.

In recent years, basketball coaches have been required to sit.

“It will be nice to be able to see the game again,” said Cedar Rapids Washington girls’ basketball coach Frank Howell. “It seemed a lot of times, that third official was right in front of me.

“I think this will allow me to show some passion, be engaged and demonstrate some energy that hopefully will be transferred to my players.”

This rule will be effective at all levels of basketball involving students in grades 7-12. The use of the coaching box is for the head coach only and may not be designated to assistant coaches.

If a head coach receives a technical foul, he must remain seated for the remainder of the game.

“This is a good thing, but now the onus in on the coaches to use this as an opportunity to coach our kids instead of work the officials,” said Iowa City West boys’ coach Steve Bergman. “The ball is in our court. We need to handle it the right way.”

The National Federation rule states that the coaching box “shall be outlined outside the side of the court on which the scorer’s and timer’s table and team benches are located. The area shall be bounded by a line drawn 14 feet from the end line toward the division line.”

In a memo sent by the Girls Union on Monday, “The administrative staffs of the IGHSAU and IHSAA recognize the additional freedom this provides head coaches to coach their athletes. It is of the utmost importance that coaches understand the privilege that is being afforded them and the responsibility that comes with it. It is the expectation of the IHSAA, the IGHSAU, the IBCA, and the Basketball Advisory Committees that this freedom be guarded carefully within the coaching fraternity and exercised diligently by the officials calling the games.

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“Officials are instructed to permit certain behavior by the head coach who engages in spontaneous reactions to officiating calls/no-calls provided the head coach remains in the coaching box and the reaction is not prolonged, profane, vulgar or threatening. At the official’s discretion, recurring spontaneous reactions by the head coach may result in a warning with subsequent incidents resulting in a technical foul. When complaints become more public or the attacks personal, there should be less discretion exercised by the official.”

l Comments: (319) 368-8857; jeff.linder@thegazette.com

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