Full-time or part-time: Czopek and Michael discuss differences

What’s the difference between full-time coaches and part-time coaches? They both teach their athletes the necessities of their sport in order for them to excel, recruit new players, and (for the most part) call the shots, but they both have pros and cons that go along with the job.

“There are many advantages of being a full time coach,” said Joseph Czopek, who is the fulltime Men’s and Women’s Volleyball Head Coach here at Wilkes. He likes being able to meet recruits that visit during the day in his office. He also states, that it allows more time to research prospective athletes, such as reading sport bios, watching highlight videos, answering a bunch of emails or watching film from previous competitions and figuring out an overall game plan for the next one.

Czopek also mentions, full time coaches are also available for the athletes to meet and talk all day, being that they have to work around their student athletes’ academic schedule, whether it be about academic or athletic concern. This also helps coaches get to better understand their players on and off the field. They will be able to know if they have something going on outside of the sport that is affecting their play, and hopefully help resolve the problem.

“We also have more interaction with the administration, athletic trainers and strength and conditioning coaches being on campus full time,” Czopek said. Close networking with them only strengthens the overall team on and off the field or court, because everyone, including the faculty and staff, are usually on the same page.

“A few struggles full-time coaches face are the necessary long hours,” Czopek said. Practices and competitions are typically in the evenings, so when most of the day is spent in the office, it can be pretty tough, but in most coaches’ eyes, it’s worth every minute.

Recruitment is another struggle. “Most high school seasons mirror our seasons, so juggling times to attend recruit events is a constant battle,” Czopek said. “Most high school events are during the evenings and weekends.”

This is when most college student athletes aren’t in class, making that time slot potential practice time, where most of the team can get there, therefore forcing coaches to decide between recruitment or practice to prepare for upcoming competitions.

“Seeing athletes compete live is a large part of recruiting them,” so as a full time coach, Czopek attends multi-day weekend recruiting events that are usually held over long holiday weekends.

Czopek said as a full time coach, “Trying to find balance in your personal life is extremely difficult during the 13 to 19-week season (depending on sport/season).

On the other side of the spectrum, as a part time coach, Brandon Michael, Wilkes Baseball Head Coach, believes there aren’t necessarily any advantages or disadvantages from the perspective of a coach when it comes to full time and part time. In other words, they are still doing the same things, such as helping their athletes grow as players and as people, while having fun and playing the sport they love.

“I believe it is about how the student-athlete responds to a part time coach,” Coach Michael said. As a part time coach, the student athlete might not have that connection with the coach since they aren’t on campus as much. Michael also mentions that the student athlete might respond differently if the coach drives to the game as opposed to riding the bus, which is an aspect of being part time.

“Part time often results in having to find other work and this means spending time away from your team. Since you have other work obligations, if an athlete wants to work on certain skills it might be hard to find the time to come back to campus to work with them.”

It might also be difficult for athletes to sit and talk with the part time coach about academic or athletic concerns, especially with varied class schedules. Athletes have said part-time coaches still have office hours, but they aren’t prolonged like a full-time coach. They haven’t had problems meeting with the coach, though.

Czopek wanted to end on a positive note and said his favorite personal advantages of being a full time coach are “being a part of the development of our future professionals, constantly interacting with young intelligent minds, and knowing we (hopefully) made a positive mark on their lives.”  He hopes that this is the mindset of all coaches, part time and full time.