General Coach Requirements

Beginning with the 2014-15 school year, all coaches for all athletic activities will be required to have completed the following coursework through the website with NO equivalencies and NO “grandfather” clauses being allowed for substitution:

  • Fundamentals of Coaching (one-time requirement)
  • First Aid, Health and Safety for Coaches (must be taken every two years)
  • Concussion in Sport:  What You Need to Know (must be taken annually)

All coaches’ requirements can be tracked by the public through the “Coach Search” feature of the website, which lists all courses completed by a given coach that are still active for fulfilling the requirements as set by the SDHSAA Board of Directors.

NOTE: All Coach Education Courses have been approved by the South Dakota Department of Education for application toward Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for certificated teachers. Please visit the Department of Education's website for more information, as well as access to the appropriate paperwork.  To view the clock hours for Department of Education credit, please click here.

Current Coaching Requirements

All Head and Assistant coaches (paid and/or volunteer), grades 9-12, shall successfully complete the following:

  • Fundamentals of Coaching or equivalent (must complete once)
  • Sports First Aid or Prevention and Care of Athletic Injuries or equivalent (must renew once every two (2) years)
  • Concussion in Sports - What You Need to Know (must renew annually)


Fundamentals of Coaching

Theory courses are no longer considered an equivalent to the fundamentals course.  The fundamentals course must be a general coaching fundamentals course or coaching philosophy course.  NOTE: those coaches currently employed (prior to 2012-13) are grandfathered and theory courses continue to apply to meet this requirement, but only for that particular sport.

     Example #1 A coach currently on staff for football, basketball, and track & field has completed theory courses in each sport.  This coach does not need to take any additional fundamentals courses.
     Example #2 A football coach current on staff who has completed a football theory course would meet the requirement for football only.  If he/she were to be given any additional coaching assignments, he/she would need to complete the Fundamentals of Coaching course if another sport coaching duty was assigned wherein the coach has not previously taken a coaching theory course.
     Example #3 A coach at 'School A' changes jobs and is now employed in the same sport at 'School B'.  This coach must now take the Fundamentals of Coaching course to meet the requirement, regardless of previous coaching duty, as they are no longer covered by the "grandfather" exception.

Coaches may take individual sport theory courses to further their professional development, but they do not meet the Fundamentals of Coaching requirement. 

Sports First Aid/Prevention and Care of Athletic Injuries

The first aid course must be renewed once every two (2) years.  The first course that coaches currently have (prior to 2012-13) will meet this requirement for the next two years (2012-13 & 2013-14).  All coaches, grades 9-12, will have to renew their first aid requirement prior to the start of the 2014-15 school year.

Concussion in Sports - What You Need to Know

The concussion course is required to be completed every year per SDCL 13-36-9.  There is currently no equivalent to this course.  In order to receive credit for the current school year, the course must be completed after July 1st each year.

Registration and Payment

To register for the online courses, go the SDHSAA website ( and click on Athletics, then Coaches Education.  On the Coaches Education page, you will find links that will take you directly to the NFHSLearn website (  Course registration and payment of fees will be completed online and made payable to the NFHS.  Course materials will be received from the NFHS.

Cost of NFHS online courses:  Fundamentals of Coaching = $40.00, Sports First Aid = $40.00, Concussion in Sports - What You Need to Know = FREE.

Required coursework must be completed prior to the individual beginning their coaching responsibilities.