Budget Cuts Force Coaches to get Creative

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Jack Eggleston, Reporter

Budget cuts are a recurring reality in high schools throughout the state of Colorado, both in education and in athletics. For athletic departments, reduced budgets can both hurt and help a program. Before the 2015/16 season started, the 9-R board reduced the athletic department budget by 20 percent.

Dave Preszler, the Athletic Director at Durango High School, is not a fan of budget cuts.

“It’s always frustrating when you have work within a tight budget,” said Preszler. He also spoke about the personal difficulties that he faced.

“No, I do not like to keep bugging coaches about the budget,” said Preszler. “But it’s something that I have to do.”

Preszler’s main focus when it comes to budget cuts is always knowing the real goal.

“It’s about the student-athletes learning something and growing from it.” He must allow that to happen, while staying within the budget.

Dalon Parker, head coach of both the boy’s and girl’s soccer teams at Durango High School, discussed the effects of budget cuts on the soccer program.

“This year, budget cuts caused difficulties because we knew we were going to have to cut two or three players,” said Parker.

Reduced budgets also cause limitations in transportation, which makes it harder for the team to travel to northern Colorado.

“We’re forced to play more teams around here, which aren’t really that competitive compared to what we can play in the front range,” said Parker.

Although the negatives of budget cuts outweigh the positives, there are some benefits. The money available for traveling purposes is limited, allowing more games to be played in Durango. This is more appealing for sponsors, as their businesses can advertise at eight home games, rather than the previous season average of four home games.

David Vogt, head coach of the Durango High football team, had similar things to say about budget cuts as Parker.

“Having to raise extra money for the budget made funding the team difficult,” said Vogt. Durango recently joined the 4A Pikes Peak League, allowing them to play different competition, but forcing them to travel farther distances for away games. Traveling is never as easy when you have to work with a tight budget.

So. Luke Jernigan of the tennis team believes budget cuts have not had a major impact on the program this year. Yet, there have been a few obstacles to overcome.

“New gear has not been as available this year as it has in the past,” said Jernigan. “We haven’t been able to buy new balls or uniforms.”

Still, the competition for the team hasn’t changed from years past. “We still play the same old teams,” said Jernigan.

There are similarities and differences to how budget cuts affect each team. There are always hardships in a season, and a lack of funding is often a prominent one. The only thing one can do is hope that they don’t come again.