Archive for Thursday, August 11, 2005

Hawley likes challenge of sports scheduling

August 11, 2005

As De Soto's athletic director, one of Roy Hawley's responsibilities is to make sure the Wildcats' teams have enough games scheduled so they can be competitive.

As simple as that sounds, a lot more goes into his job than meets the eye.

In some cases, the scheduling is the easy part. It's when he has to reschedule a contest, or pick up a game to make up for an unexpected bail out by an opponent, that forces Hawley into creative and stressful moments.

Still, Hawley said he enjoyed the responsibility and challenges.

"Scheduling is kind of fun when it falls into place," he said. "But it's difficult to reschedule. A lot of people say, 'Why don't you just play it tomorrow or next Tuesday?' But other circumstances often come into play."

One of the concerns Hawley has to consider when rescheduling an event is whether the volunteers he had lined up for the regularly scheduled game can make the new game time. If they can't, he has to find replacements. He also has to consider the opposing team's schedule.

Other non-athletic events such as debate, speech or music may interrupt the rescheduling process as well. Hawley said one of the secrets to rescheduling is keeping a few dates open at the end of the season for that purpose.

Hawley prefers to get scheduling input from his coaches.

"If a coach doesn't want to play Blue Valley in soccer, for example, I'm going to respect that coach's wishes. But if I can see where we night be pretty good in a couple of years, I may go ahead and try to upgrade the schedule by contacting a bigger school or a traditionally stronger team."

Coaches and players often prefer to play the best teams available, Hawley said. There are times, however, when he has to step in and say, 'I'm not sure that we're going to be very good. Are you sure that's what you want to do.'

The Kansas State High School Activities Association has set scheduling guidelines for each sport. Golf and tennis teams, for example, are allowed to schedule two tournaments a season that start before 3 p.m. They may also compete in two tournaments scheduled before 1 p.m. Both sports have eight playing dates with which to work. Duals count as just half of a playing date.

Volleyball is allowed 10 playing dates, which can be split between tournaments, duals, double duals and quads. Baseball and softball teams can schedule 20 games. Basketball is allowed 20 games, but can schedule just two tournaments, although Hawley said the KSHSAA may allow a maximum of three tournaments in 2005-2006.

Wrestling's scheduling system goes by a point system, but the formula pertains to individual athletes. Although a team can schedule more than 30 points, each athlete must stay at or under the limit.

In the point system, duals count as one point, double duals are worth two points, quads add up to three points, one-day tournaments are worth four points and two-day tournaments count as five points.

Kansas high school cross country teams are allowed to participate in seven meets, while track teams can compete in eight. Soccer teams are allowed a maximum of 16 games during the short fall and spring seasons.

Football teams, of course are allowed nine football games each, counting district contests. The state's football coaches congregate to Salina's Bicentennial Center every two years on the first Wednesday of October to complete their scheduling. Each team's slate is then set for the next two seasons. The coaches will meet Oct. 5 to make schedules for 2006 and 2007.

Once the KSHSAA announces who will play who in the district games, the coaches begin filling out their schedules.

"If you get lucky you can walk out of there in anywhere from a half hour to two hours," Hawley said. "We were lucky last time because our district games were non-conference games. All we had to do was set our conference games, and we were ready to go."

Hawley doesn't believe he's seen the perfect schedule yet, but he likes the way this season's football slate laid out.

"We play our rivals later in the schedule," he said. "And our schedule becomes progressively more difficult as the season goes along."

There are some changes on this year's fall schedules compared to last season.

Instead of opening the year with the Hayden Invitational, the Wildcats cross country team is set to compete at the Sept. 1 Anderson County Invitational. Hawley said he thought the Anderson County meet fielded about 20 teams and would give De Soto a peek at regional and conference foes.

Baldwin and Gardner-Edgerton are fielding soccer teams this season, so the Wildcats dropped one of two games against Louisburg and eliminated Lawrence Bishop Seabury from the slate.

The Wildcat tennis team will be traveling to Marysville to play in a Sept. 10 tournament. The prestigious meet features many of the teams that De Soto will see at regionals and at state.

Hawley said the volleyball team would be adding Atchison to its double dual with Seabury and Maranatha. A double dual with Atchison and Wathena was then erased from the schedule. The Wildcats will add a Sept. 22 double dual with Sumner Academy and Jefferson West.

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