Frequently Asked Questions

What is the role of athletics at St. George’s?

Athletics plays an important part in the life of St. George’s Independent School. Young people learn a great deal from participation in interscholastic athletics. Lessons in sportsmanship, teamwork, competition and how to win and lose gracefully are integral parts of our athletic program. Athletic participation also plays an important part in helping students develop a healthy self-concept, as well as a healthy body. Athletic competition also improves school spirit and helps students develop pride in their school.

It is our purpose to provide opportunities that will allow the athletic programs to serve as a laboratory where students may cope with problems and handle situations similar to those encountered under conditions prevailing in the contemporary world. The laboratory should provide adequate and natural opportunities for:

1)   Physical, mental and emotional growth and development.
2)   Acquisition and development of special skills in activities of each student's choice.
3)   Development of commitments such as loyalty, cooperation, fair play and other desirable social traits.
4)   Directed leadership and supervision that stresses self-discipline, self-motivation, excellence, and the ideals of good sportsmanship that make for winning and losing graciously.
5)   A focus of interests on activity programs for student body, faculty and community that will generate a feeling of unity.
6)   Achievement of initial goals as set by the school in general and the student as an individual.
7)   Provisions for worthy use of leisure time in later life, either as a participant or spectator.

How does the school balance an emphasis toward participation with a desire to be competitive? Is there a difference between the middle school program and the upper school program in this regard?

St. George’s Independent School's emphasis on participation and level of competitiveness is equal in regards to Middle and Upper School. The lower levels of middle school will not be as advanced in scheme or as long in practice times. We do believe the fundamentals are stressed at a higher level due to the necessity of development. We do not base success solely on wins and losses but rather on continual growth and improvement with the individual and team. We strive for excellence that will produce successful teams within the bounds of good sportsmanship while enhancing the mental health of student athletes. We desire a high level of participation and teach each student to continually improve regardless of skill level. Playing time is not given but earned through hard work, perseverance, and continual growth from learning from both success and failures. We stress team success over individual statistics and playing time. Ultimately we strive for our students to become “Other-Centered” which promotes “Team” over “Self”. 

Although we do not offer equal levels of playing time, we do strive to get as much playing time for students. Our goal is to strive for excellence to accomplish success regardless of level of play. Unfortunately, it is not always feasible to accommodate every student who would like to participate in certain sports (golf, cheer, soccer, volleyball, basketball, baseball, softball, lacrosse, and tennis) due to numbers and space. Some sports do require a tryout and we generally try to accommodate as many students as possible, without affecting other teams with numbers or space. We currently do offer sports that do not require tryouts (Football, Cross Country, Wrestling, Swimming, and Track) in each season, to also encourage participation. We continually strive to improve participation in interscholastic participation seasonally.

How is the Athletic Department staffed?

The Athletic Department is staffed with an Athletic Director, Assistant to Athletics, Assistant Athletic Director, Sports Information Director, Director of Athletic Management, Coordinator of Athletic Events, and two full-time trainers. The TSSAA requirement for high school teams in Tennessee is a faculty member as head coach in (Football, Boy’s Basketball, Girl’s Basketball, Baseball, Softball, and Track). We currently have high school faculty coaches in Football, Girl’s Cross Country, Girl’s Soccer, Boy’s Golf, Girl’s Golf, Volleyball, Girl’s Basketball, Boy’s Basketball, Wrestling, Swimming, Boy’s Lacrosse, Track, Softball, Baseball, Boy’s Soccer, and Tennis. We strive to get faculty coaches for all sports regardless of level or gender. Some of our teams are coached by non-faculty members, but we do strive for non-parent head coaches. If a parent is a coach it is due to necessity of available coaches that fit the mission of our school. We will also have a non-parent assistant help with the program to ensure that all students are treated fairly.

If a concern or issue arises regarding my son/daughter on a particular team, what is the school's philosphy on communication?

There are situations that may require a conference between the coach and the parent. It is important that both parties involved have a clear understanding of the other person’s role and position. When these conferences are necessary, the following procedure should be followed to help promote a resolution to the issue of concern.

If you have a concern to discuss with a coach, please follow the proper flow chart of communication below:

*  Your son or daughter should first talk with the coach about his/her concerns.
*  Call to set up an appointment with the coach.
*  If the coach cannot be reached after a reasonable time, phone the Administrative Assistant to the Athletic Director to set a place and time for a meeting.

Please do not approach a coach about a problem before or after a contest or practice. These can be emotional times for the parent and coach, not the time to attempt to resolve an issue of concern.

Procedure to follow if the meeting with the coach did not provide a satisfactory solution:
*  Call the Athletic Assistant to set an appointment with the Athletic Director and coach to discuss the situation.

Procedure to follow if the meeting with the Athletic Director did not provide a satisfactory solution:
*  Call to set an appointment with the Associate Head of School.

Issues not appropriate to discuss with a coach include:
*  Playing time 
*  Team strategy
*  Play calling
*  Other student athletes
*  Player’s position on the team

Are there volunteer opportunities for parents?

Gryphon Athletics does not have an organized "Booster Club" due to the school's committment to funding its interscholastic athletic programs. There are, however, several ways that a parent can get involved in a volunteer capacity. We rely greatly on our parent volunteers to ensure that all teams and events run smoothly. A parent may volunteer in any of the following capacities:  Team Parent, Concessions, Chain Gang for football, Scorekeepers, Clock Keepers, Staticians, Line Judges (volleyball), Grillers, etc. The Athletic Department and the coaches greatly appreciate all of our volunteers and know that we would not be successful without them.

What is the school’s approach toward parent volunteers on coaching staffs?

Each head coach has the option to have volunteer parent coaches to help with practices, but generally we try to provide enough hired coaches to meet the teams’ demands. Parent volunteers can be valuable resources and are expected to follow the guidelines laid out by the head coach and support the philosophy of the school and the Athletic Department.

What are some TSSAA regulations by which the school must abide with regard to hiring coaches?

Head coaches for upper school baseball, football, basketball, softball, and track must be employees of the school. Coaches cannot recruit players from other schools, which includes initiating contact with a student or parent at another school with the purpose of encouraging a school transfer. Once a student contacts our admission office then coaches can talk with potential students, but cannot exercise undue influence. In the upper school, there can be only two assistant coaches in any sport who are not employees of the school or meet other criteria such as teaching at another school or being a retired teacher and/or coach.

When hiring coaches, what type of coaching philosophy and attributes does the school expect?

The school expects an individual’s coaching philosophy to reflect the school’s overall philosophy and that of the athletic department. Additionally, the school seeks to hire coaches who have coaching experience and are knowledgeable in the sport(s) they coach. Coaches are expected to be sportsmanlike, organized, professional, and to treat their players with respect. Coaches are expected to be firm, but fair.

What is the athletic department’s approach toward cuts? Does it vary between middle school and upper school?

In accordance with our philosophy of athletics and our desire to see as many students as possible participate in the athletic program while at St. George’s, we encourage coaches to keep as many students as they can while maintaining the integrity of their sport. Obviously, time, space, facilities, equipment, personal preference, and other factors will place limitations on the most effective squad size for any particular sport. In the sports where cuts must be made, it is the policy of the Athletic Department that coaches speak to those athletes whom will be cut from the team before the actual roster is made public.

Why are students only allowed to play on one interscholastic team per season?

In order to maintain the integrity of each team, students are allowed to play on only one team per season. It is not realistic to assume that an individual can commit equally to two teams with regard to practices and/or games. In many situations, there will be scheduling conflicts that cannot be reconciled and a choice will have to be made to attend one practice or game over the other. This creates inconsistency and unpredictability for the coach and, as importantly, other teammates. There is also an issue of fairness involved. Should a player who misses a practice in order to meet a commitment with another sport be allowed to start in the next game? Furthermore, when cuts are made during a tryout process it brings to question whether or not it is fair to keep someone who may be committed to two teams and miss practices/games over someone who would be committed to only the one team. For these reasons, it is the school’s policy that students participate on just one team per season. Typically, the only two sports currently exempt from this policy is cross country and track. However, these will be based on a case to case basis, and will need approval from the Athletic Department.

As my child moves into varsity level athletics, what is to be expected in terms of a student-athlete’s commitment?

There is a higher level of commitment for a varsity athlete. For example, players need to always be punctual; there will often be practices during school vacations; players will be expected to be engaged in conditioning during the season and also in the off-season; some athletic contests may require travel out of town. To be successful it takes hard work, time, daily dedication, and sacrifice. Such skills will hopefully have meaning in a young person’s life beyond athletics. Additionally and importantly, it is irresponsible to put our athletes in a competitive situation and ask them to compete at a high level if we have not worked to ensure that they are as well prepared for the challenge as possible.

Will my student be eligible to participate in sports under TSSAA guidelines?

The rules  governing TSSAA eligibility can be found by clicking here.
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