The Strasburg–Franklin Local School District (Strasburg, OH; Tuscarawas County) has announced that all interscholastic coaches (grades 7 through 12) are required to earn national coaching certification beginning with the 2015-2016 school year.  The district will require that all Strasburg coaches, both paid and volunteer, complete the National Federation of High School Association’s (NFHS) Accredited Interscholastic Coach (AIC) certification prior to in-season coaching.

Strasburg-Franklin becomes the first school district in Ohio that now requires the national interscholastic coach certification which has become available to coaches across the country since 2009. The Strasburg Local Board of Education approved the requirement in June and will assist the Strasburg Local Athletic Department in covering the expenses for the additional training of the coaches.

AIC certification requires completion of the following NFHS online courses:  “Fundamentals of Coaching”, “First Aid and Safety for Coaches”, “Concussion in Sports” and a sport-specific course of the user’s choosing.  Strasburg coaches must also maintain a current Ohio Department of Education “Pupil Activity Permit” as required by all Ohio interscholastic coaches.


“We are building a culture of learning within our school district that truly is reflected in all aspects of student engagement”, stated Strasburg-Franklin Local Schools Superintendent, Cynthia Brown.  “We perceive all of our athletic personnel as ‘teacher-coaches’ inasmuch as they are an extension of our educational mission beyond the academic classroom.  Our expectations of coaches are really no less than what we aspire to during the regular school day.”


Strasburg athletic administrator, Gary Spinell, approached Mrs. Brown and the Board of Education in the spring of 2015 with the initiative to have all staff coaches trained and to acquire the AIC certification.  “Our coaches have always realized the huge responsibility and

impact they have with our students and they strive to constantly improve”, says Spinell.  “With the ever-changing landscape of sports, our coaches need to be on the cutting edge of best practices.  Coaches are expected to improve individual and team performance, on and off the athletic field of play.  By becoming certified, our coaches are assisting our students to have the best opportunities for success both in school and in the future!”

Although one of the smaller schools in Ohio, Strasburg has a rich athletic tradition.  Student engagement with athletics is popular; in the 2014-2015 school year, 158 of the 256 students in grades 7 through 12 (62%) participated in at least one interscholastic sport.

Strasburg-Franklin Local Schools Board of Education president, Robyn Burkett, states, “The expectations of our community and school stakeholders is that we maximize opportunities to prepare our children for success in life.  We have always established meaningful standards for our academic teachers to achieve and maintain.  We value education-based athletics in the same context and desire our coaches to mirror our District’s mission on the playing fields.”

For additional information regarding the Strasburg Local School District Coach Education initiative, contact Strasburg Director of Athletics, Gary Spinell, at  For information on the NFHS Accredited Interscholastic Coach certification, go to:


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