Andrew Evertts’ phone would not stop buzzing Tuesday. In the hours since the North Montgomery boys basketball coach — now former coach — published a statement on his Twitter account Monday night outlining his decision to get out of teaching and coaching, Evertts has been floored by the response.
“Oh my goodness,” Evertts said Tuesday afternoon. “My phone has gone off literally every five minutes. I wasn’t expecting it. I’ve heard from so many people.”
Evertts, 30, never expected to be in this position. The Angola native and Indiana University graduate got his start as a teacher and boys basketball coach at Medora in 2013 with big dreams. After two years at tiny Medora, he coached at Mississinewa for four seasons and led the Indians to back-to-back 16-win seasons in his final two years before taking the North Montgomery job last spring.
“I had big plans to do great things,” Evertts said.
North Montgomery’s record was an uninspiring 5-18. But Evertts’ decision to step away — and the response to his decision — had little to do with the Chargers’ on-court result or the school system. Evertts, wife, Susan, is an art teacher who loves North Montgomery and has every intention to remain there. But with a young family — the couple has a 9-month-old son, Jackson — the numbers just did not add up.
He posted, in part: “Although I have enjoyed coaching basketball more than I can put on paper, the unfortunate fact is that it does not pay the bills. My education salary is what supports my family, and at this point it just not adequate for our needs. Again, I can’t stress enough that this is not a North Montgomery problem. This is an issue with the state of Indiana. I know there has been a lot of discussion lately about unfair teacher wages. There has been much focus on low pay raises and low average teacher salary (somewhere around $50,000 for the state). The issue has become unbearable for most new teachers. In my 7 years in education the pay scales seem to get worse every year. It is nearly impossible for any newer teacher to think of making anywhere near $50,000, unless they become an administrator (which I could never do, it takes a special kind of person for that job) or teach for a very long time and coach multiple sports. I put my heart and soul into this profession for the last 7 years, but my compensation does not reflect that. I still have a few more years before I would even eclipse the $40,000 mark. I am not trying to stir any controversy by sharing this, I am just trying to give one final ounce of support for my education colleagues, as well as fully explain my situation.”
Evertts went on to write that he fully understood what he was getting into when he started as a teacher. But the past few years, on top of his 70-plus hour work weeks during basketball season, his passion for teaching and coaching had fizzled.
“Teaching is an extremely difficult profession in today’s age,” he wrote. “I feel it is nearly impossible to hold students accountable to the high standard I believe is right, which greatly reduces the number of students I am able to impact. The things I have experienced in the classroom are unbelievable, but I am not here to vent about that. I got into this profession because I thought I was a good role model and I was excited to make an impact in young people’s lives. Although I know I was able to accomplish this is a small way, I made nowhere near the impact I had hoped. I have so much respect for the people that continue to do this job on a daily basis, they are true heroes.”
I know word has gotten out, just wanted to explain our situation a little more. I would imagine some people will be upset with this, and understandably so. I will probably take a social media hiatus after this, so call or text if you need me. Thanks! pic.twitter.com/v3kJdQXTwQ
— Andrew Evertts (@CoachEvertts) May 7, 2019
I asked Evertts to explain that passage further. He said he wanted to be careful not to make it sound like he was calling out anyone in particular, but in a system where declining enrollment means fewer dollars, there can be mixed messages.
“In today’s age, I feel like there is a lack of motivation for some students,” he said. “And sometimes teachers may feel like they have to cater to students regardless of what is happening. I think some kids have caught on to that and feel like they don’t have to do what is required of them.”
It might sound like a bleak message, Evertts admits. But he is hardly alone on the coaching side, especially. He often wondered, earlier in his career, why seemingly young and up-and-coming coaches would get out of the profession.
“I’ve seen it so much,” Evertts said. “You see a young guy resign and wonder, ‘Why would he get out?’ Then I started feeling some of the same things. I was always fortunate to work with kids on the court like I wanted to. If there’s an opportunity down the road to coach someday, I would love to do that.”
But Evertts’ teaching days are behind him at the end of the school year. What that looks like exactly, he has no idea yet. That is both scary and exciting.
“I’ve had a couple of people approach me but I really don’t know,” he said, chuckling. “Maybe I should have had something lined up already. But I’m hoping to take a little time off this summer, which I was never able to do because of basketball. I just feel like I have to quit chasing this dream and do the responsible thing and provide for my family.”
Evertts said the purpose of his post was to provide more background than a standard “personal reasons” statement. In doing so, his post seems to have struck a chord with other teachers and coaches.
“I didn’t really expect or want the attention,” he said. “I wanted to explain to people around here why I left after one year. Because that didn’t help a program that has had so much turnover. But I also didn’t want people to think I did something wrong. I just wanted to explain why.”
Call Star reporter Kyle Neddenriep at (317) 444-6649.