By coincidence, no doubt, Bangor High School has just appointed a new head football coach while its current boys’ basketball coach has just resigned and so will soon be replaced. Bangor High School is certainly an athletic powerhouse in most major sports, with far more winning than losing records in any given season. As the parent of two children who attended BHS–one of them on two varsity teams–I hope that the school’s winning ways continue under new leadership as well as under existing leadership.
No less important, BHS’ head coaches are routinely praised by the Maine media, by the community, and by other teams as men and women of enviable professionalism: not only in their coaching experience and expertise but also in their integrity both on the field and off. The familiar accounts of friction among players and between coaches and parents are rarely if ever the case with BHS sports.
What, therefore, might seem like a question beyond the pale–or “out of the park”–nevertheless got me thinking about how far the domination of Republican Party affiliation within the Bangor School System MIGHT trickle down to appointments that are obviously not political in nature. Does Superintendent Betsy Webb’s well-known commitment to the Republican Party–and that of other top administrators (and former ones, like the well-paid but short-serving former Assistant Superintendent Robert Lucy)–have an effect on hirings of head coaches in major sports?
Let us suppose that, contrary to Webb’s opposition to raising the minimum wage for many School System employees–as reflected in her recent testimony before Congress at the invitation of Senator Susan Collins–a prospective or even current head coach joined the many other Mainers who are pleading for an increased minimum wage, and not just in K-12 public education, On the one hand, such a stance would have no bearing on the coaching credentials of the (potential) employee. On the other hand, the top-down micro-management that characterizes the Bangor School System MIGHT be troubled by this political stance, especially given the high profile in the Maine media of head coaches at one of Maine’s largest and most highly esteemed high schools.
Just imagine what might happen if players whose mentors are as often their head coaches as their teachers were persuaded by the after-school activism of even one head coach to embrace raising the minimum wage. And just imagine what might happen if any of those players outright criticized “Our Senator” Collins for her passionate commitment to siding with especially small businessmen and women in keeping the minimum wage intact. And God forbid that any of those players checked out and went public about the apparent practice of limiting not a few part-time School System employees to an hour or two below the hours needed for benefits. HORRORS! COULD AMERICA SURVIVE?
Given what I’ve earlier called the North Korean style of democracy that characterizes the Bangor School System and the Bangor School Committee, outsiders would probably never know about any of these scenarios. And, in all likelihood, the overt political nature of the Bangor School System doesn’t trickle down to the playing field or the swimming pool or the locker room.
Still, one wonders.