Creating a Safe and Respectful Environment

Coach Education Course Now Available for Free

In an effort to provide information on hazing, bullying and inappropriate relationships to more high school coaches, school administrators and the general public, the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) is now offering its online course “Creating a Safe and Respectful Environment” for free on the NFHS Coach Education Web site at

Creating a Safe and Respectful Environment, which has been available for $20 since February 2012, provides education for coaches on the critically important topics of inappropriate relationships, hazing, bullying and cyber-bullying, and the appropriate use of technology when interacting with players and the public. The course provides examples of court cases involving these issues and suggests appropriate actions that coaches should take when these types of issues arise.

Tim Flannery, CMAA, NFHS Director of Coach Education, said with the issues surrounding the situation at Penn State University, the NFHS made a decision to drop the fee for this course in the hope that many more coaches and school administrators become educated on these important topics that negatively affect young people. 

“With regard to these important topics of inappropriate relationships, hazing and bullying, we want to educate the masses and change the culture,” Flannery said, “and in order to do that, we thought we needed to make the course available for free.

“This course is about getting the coach’s attention and saying ‘You will be held responsible for inappropriate actions and for not taking appropriate steps when these situations occur,’” Flannery said. “Many individuals who accept a coaching job are ignorant of the laws and policies by which they are required to abide. This course will assist athletic programs by providing standardized training for coaches, which will result in a permanent record that can be accessed and verified by the school.”

Since its launch in 2007, the NFHS Coach Education Program has expanded to 29 courses, five of which are available for free. Other important courses available at no cost are “A Guide to Heat Acclimatization and Heat Illness Prevention,” “Concussion in Sports – What You Need to Know,” “Sportsmanship” and “The Role of the Parent in Sports.”

More than 230,000 people have taken the Fundamentals of Coaching course, which is one of the two NFHS core courses, along with First Aid for Coaches. There are also 13 sport-specific courses and nine elective courses available.

All NFHS Coach Education courses are available at