With no in-school class or any sports going on at the high school level, it’s certainly been a different time this spring at Laramie High School.

The same can be said for trying to hire two varsity head coaches during the pandemic at LHS.

In the last six weeks, Laramie has replaced its head volleyball and head girls’ basketball head coaches. Athletic Director Ron Wagner told KOWB that they had to take a different approach.

With buildings still locked and social distancing guidelines in place, search committees held interviews over Zoom. Whether it was planning for the process or an actual interview with a candidate, everything was done over the internet.

Wagner said he’s hired a lot of coaches, and we’ve had a lot of different circumstances, but doing everything online was a new approach.

“You always worry about the technology standpoint. You know, people glitch. You wonder if they heard the question correctly. You wonder if you heard their answer correctly. So, there was just a lot of open communication about making sure we did hear it correctly and making sure they heard the question correctly.”

Wagner said they ended up placing the questions on the screen so a candidate could see it.

The good news was there were no major technology issues during the search interviews.

Wagner admitted you do miss the face-to-face piece of an interview.

“That idea of body language and how they respond to what’s being said. I mean, we had a great connection. We didn’t have any of those issues but it’s certainly different, and it is tough. Not from the standpoint of I thought anybody was at a disadvantage, but it’s just tough doing things over the internet versus in-person feel.”

Wagner felt all parties involved made the best of the situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Laramie hired Jill Stucky as its new volleyball head coach in late March. She was approved by the ACSD No. 1 School Board at its regular meeting in April. Nick Darling has been tabbed as the new leader of Laramie Lady Plainsmen basketball. While it’s been publicly announced, his hiring is still pending board approval at their meeting on May 13.

While these are the first two head coaching hires at LHS conducted in this manner because of the coronavirus, it may serve as a way to either handle or assist in future coaching searches.

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