Athletic fee will help defray cost of NU sports |

Athletic fee will help defray cost of NU sports

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Before becoming a teacher and coach at Nevada Union High School, Steve Pilcher worked as a bank administrator.

In a way, Pilcher has now come full circle, back to battling red ink and bottom lines.

According to Pilcher, who took over as NU’s athletic director in June, the Nevada Joint Union School District has initiated a sports transportation fee for athletes for the upcoming school year. The required fee will cost athletes $80 per sport, capped at $160 per year. Families can sign on for an annual fee of $320 for the opportunity for all of their children to play sports for the upcoming school season.

The fee will help supplement an athletic budget already strained by a 10 percent cut from the 2001-2002 budget, one that itself had been 8 percent smaller than the 2000-2001 school year. According to Pilcher, the overall athletic budget allocated by the district for the upcoming school year is smaller than it was when he first came to NU 13 years ago.

“Our state financial crisis has affected schools,” Pilcher said. “I hate to be the one to sound the warning, but I think the financial status of athletics in the community is precarious now.”

Pilcher said the transportation fee will help offset costs of transportation for athletics, but will do little to keep overall athletic programs at the level to which residents are accustomed.

Currently, booster programs raise funds to augment individual sports budgets and the laundry lists of costs that come with the particular program. Pilcher would like to extend what the boosters do by holding one large athletic fund-raiser that would benefit all programs at the school.

Though Pilcher is not certain when such a fund-raiser would be held, or the format it would take, he is already in the process of taking suggestions from the public at large as to the best way to maximize a massive athletic fund-raiser. He encourages those with ideas to call him at the high school at 273-4431.

“We really appreciate what the boosters already do,” Pilcher said. “At schools like Hiram Johnson, they’ve had success raising money with bingo, for example. We’ve already had a lot of suggestions, but we are really going to have to do our homework this year.”

Pilcher is already doing his. An economics and physical education teacher for the past 13 years at NU, he assumed the athletic director’s duties from Mike Cartan, who resigned from the post before the end of the 2001-2002 school year.

Pilcher has put together a 75-page coaches guide that will help coaches meet the realistic expectations of athletes and parents, as well as deal with the various levels of league, district and NorCal paperwork that is a part of high school athletics.

For Pilcher, part of the experience so far has been sizing up how complex the job can be, and to find a way to efficiently get the job done without it infringing on his teaching duties.

Pilcher plans to build on what his predecessors have done while sizing up future concerns such as the juggling of athletic facilities for the 24 athletic programs at NU.

“It is a thankless political job with numerous hours,” Pilcher said. “But I just have so much passion and blood, sweat and tears in the high school. I wanted somebody to take the job that would do it right, and care about it.

“Some of the negative stuff about people leaving and transferring schools, I don’t believe in that. I think good people do good jobs and we need to tackle each year as it comes. And that is why I took the job.”

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