According to a report by the Charlotte Observer, Weddington (N.C.) selected a new head coach after a “national search” when it appointed the school’s offensive coordinator Andy Capone. It’s a move for continuity for a program that went 75-23 in seven seasons under departing head coach Tim Carson.
All of that makes sense, and is great news for Capone and, in all likelihood, most of his players. It just raises a question that may seem semantic, but is still important: Can a search truly be “national” in scope if the eventual hire comes from within the same building?
This isn’t a purely academic matter, as schools can claim to be engaged in national efforts simply to gain buy in and credibility among their fan bases and peers without following through on the resources and effort necessary if all they have to do is claim a national search before hiring an additional assistant.
Again, there’s nothing wrong with hiring an existing assistant. In fact, it’s often (maybe even usually?) the right move for a successful program. It just feels duplicitous to claim a national search and then not move outside the school to hire the eventual successful candidate.
Does this mean that there wasn’t a national search? No. It means they couldn’t prove that it was a national search because they couldn’t very well identify any external candidates once they decided to appoint the offensive coordinator. After all, doing so would threaten those other candidates’ job prospects.
It’s all much ado about a coaching change, and an extra level of hubbub that really should be unnecessary for scholastic sports, no matter how prestigious the school’s athletic program may be. This isn’t collegiate sports, where every search is a de facto national search. It’s high school sports, with high school students. Hiring a coach they’re comfortable and familiar with is a perfectly respectable option regardless of the optics every time.