HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As a basketball coach, Alika Smith delivered, winning a total of three state championships in four years at Kalaheo. However, according to him, the results didn't matter to school administration, it was all about the way he coached.
A conduct agreement between he, Principal Susan Hummel and Athletic Director Mark Brilhante was what led to him walking away from the job.
"After reading the terms we just had a lot of differences on the program and how I should coach these kids," he said.
The agreement lays out an expected code of conduct for the coach. It's heavy with sportsmanship and positivity.
Some of the bullet points read:
- I shall demonstrate positive coaching by not yelling and cursing during practices and games.
- I shall keep cool and respond to situations respectfully setting an example for the players.
- I shall use encouragement and positive reinforcement as my primary method of motivating student athletes.
- I shall respect the Kalaheo Mustang as the school's mascot and not use Stang Nation to represent Kalaheo High School.
Smith admits his style of coaching runs counter to many of the bullet points.
"I run my program like a college program because it's one step below college. A lot of these kids have aspirations of playing at the next level."
At the bottom of the agreement is the following passage, one Smith took umbrage to:
I agree that if any of the above expectations are not followed to the satisfaction of either or both Principal Susan Hummel or Athletic Director Mark Brilhante I understand and agree I shall be suspended and/or terminated from my contract with no further contractual obligations by the Principal or Athletic Director.
Jeaney Garcia, Executive Director of the Positive Coaching Alliance Hawaii, says the contract represents a cultural shift in not only coaching, but the way student athletes respond to it.
"There's a different standard of what it means to support kids" she said. "Most kids are motivated by positive feedback. We even talk about the magic ratio which has been well researched, which is 5 positive reinforcements to every one correction."
As for Smith, he agrees with the way student athletes are changing. His coaching methods, however, will not.
"If you can't coach up to your potential you're not only shortchanging yourself, but you're shortchanging your kids."