The move by Philadelphia schools into the PIAA should improve programs.
Philadelphia School District officials, led by Chief Executive Officer Paul Vallas, have drawn up an athletics improvement plan that coincides with the district's move into the PIAA.
"There has been neglect [of high school athletics in Philadelphia]," said Vallas, who spearheaded the drive to get Philadelphia schools into the PIAA. "That neglect has been the result of inadequate leadership at the top. I'm talking about administrators.
"But you know what? Going forward, everybody has a clean slate with me."
The plan deals with all aspects of athletic management, from the size and scope of schools' athletics budget, to improvement in facilities, to what programs should exist at the junior varsity and middle school levels, to what kind of funding is needed to implement the changes.
Philadelphia's 37 schools joined the PIAA last month as District 12, though they will not be eligible for the PIAA playoffs until the 2004-05 school year.
According to Vallas' plan, Philadelphia will not just have a District 12 committee similar to the other 11 district committees. It also will have an internal sports advisory council that will give District 12 leadership a handle on what is happening at all schools.
"With the format we have in place ... it's going to open up the doors to have more input from the field," said Creg Williams, the school district's deputy chief academic officer and one of Philadelphia's point men in the transition to PIAA membership.
"The schools and coaches can decide what things they're going to need in terms of equipment and supplies," Williams said.
Roxborough High School athletic director and head football coach Cliff Hubbard will become the district's new director of athletics. He will be assisted by George Washington football coach Ron Cohen and former Germantown assistant football coach Robert Coleman.
That three-man team will replace Linda McGee, who has worked alone as Philadelphia's athletics program manager since 1993. McGee is now an assistant principal at George Washington High School.