‘Tis The Season: The Hiring and Firing of College Football Coaches
What happens when a new head football coach is hired/fired?
There is an entire generation that feels as if they are entitled to everything right now, an unreserved mentality that has spilled over into all areas of life. Even in college football, we see the demanding requirement of instant gratification. Football coaches lose jobs for not winning as fast as they should. They even lose jobs for having winning season, but failing to compete for The National Championship every year. Ultimately, what people don’t see, or seem to care about, is exactly how many lives are affected by these head coaching changes.
The Rumors and The Hire
When a new head football coach is announced at any major college program, several things happen all at once. All of social media and news outlets are buzzing with speculation on which the new head coach will be…
The rumors are confirmed, the school website announces the new hire, then new coach arrives on campus to begin his era. His wife and kids are flown in so they can be by his side as he is introduced at the press conference. After the welcome and questions from the media, the wife and kids fly home to start the process of uprooting their lives to move again.
The new head coach says all the right things to get the fan base and alumni properly fired up. All the while he wears the school colors, shakes the hands, answers the questions, and meets his team and support staff. Famous alumni show up or tweet their congratulations. The new head coach is whisked off to a sporting event to be paraded in front of the students and fans.
Meanwhile, the entire time the aforementioned is occurring, his phone is working overtime, collecting 500-600 various forms of messages full of congratulations, people looking for jobs or recommending others for jobs. Not a joke. Literally 500-600 messages in less than 24 hours.
Hit The Ground Running
The new head coach is swiftly moving through his first official day. There is a lunch and dinner with the athletic director. He begins to put a staff together. Calls are made to a select group of assistants before the official announcement. That select group is on their way to town. Interviews with previous staff left behind. Some may fit, most will not. The new staff will be hired at a rapid fire pace. Some coaches are fired during the season. Most are fired and new ones hired the last week of November/first week of December. While, some coaches decide they have a better option when January rolls around and a position is open they have dreamed about. Keep in mind that college football’s National Signing Day is the first Wednesday in February. Therefore, it is crunch time to put together a recruiting class for any new coach.
The Staff and Recruiting
Quickly the new position coaches arrive; get new gear and a set of players to evaluate. More questions to answer — how deep and strong is our roster? Who is still committed to us? How do they fit with our philosophy? All the coaches will have to accomplish several months of work in a small handful very long days. They will finally hit the road with a hope and prayer that they can pull off a recruiting class miracle. It is a grueling schedule. The head coach will most likely visit several different cities in one day. Meanwhile, the assistants will spend less than 24 hours in each city in his recruiting region. Signing day will come and signing day will go.
The Grind Begins
The off-season workouts begin. Coaches start Spring Ball prep. Recruiting and evaluation kick into high gear for high school juniors. Then spring ball begins. The brand new offense and defenses are installed. More roster evaluations. The spring game. More player workouts.
Summer! The coach’s families move to town. Summer camp session 1 for the little kids. Summer camp session 2 full of potential players. The current roster continues to work out. July will roll around, and the staff will get a much needed two weeks off. July will draw to close with media days and a flurry of preseason polls and hype. As August arrives, fall ball begins which swiftly leads to two a days and scrimmages. Kick off is two weeks away. First game strategizing begins.
Ultimately, coaching is more than pacing up and down the sidelines on a Saturday afternoon. It is so much more, it is a 24/7/365 job. When you are calling for a head coach to be fired, it’s because he is not winning fast enough for you. But one must be aware that there are approximately 414 people affected when a head coach is hired/fired:
Head Coach + wife + 2 kids = 4
Offensive Coordinator + wife + 2 kids = 4
Defensive Coordinator + wife + 2 kids = 4
Special Teams Coordinator + wife + 2 kids = 4
Seven position coaches + 6 wives + 12 kids = 25
Strength & Conditioning Coach + wife + 2 kids = 4
Four Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coaches + 2 wives + 2 kids = 8
Five extra support staff/quality control + 5 wives + 10 kids = 20
Eight graduate assistants = 81 coaches, wives and kids
First and foremost, that core group of 81 will have to make a significant move. Additionally there is 18+/- support and office staff. Some may have to relocate; a majority of them will already be in place from the previous staff. Although rare, some head coaches come in and fire absolutely everyone, starting brand new from the receptionist on up. Moreover, these support staff will have to learn a whole new set of coaches and their families with a whole new set of quirks, wants and needs. Add those up, and we are at 99 people personally affected.
Now add the team. The average major college program has 105 players. So, 99+105 = 204 people affected. Lastly, add the player’s parents to the mix. That additional 210 people also have relationships with the coaches, 414 people.
The next time you take to social media calling for the firing of your school’s head coach, remember that number 414. Especially think about the number 414 when you start the Twitter account @firecoachxyz. Consequently, the lively hoods of 99 people are riding on the backs of 105 student athletes.
Just imagine if your job was dependent on 105 college kids. Imagine what it would be like to uproot your family every 3-5 years. Think about this: your team loses a game and subsequently, you lose your job, maybe simply because a ref blew a call. With this in mind, imagine you are one of the 414 people directly affected. Better yet imagine you are one of the 500-600 messages waiting on that new head coach’s phone, looking for your next job. Fingers crossed you get the call. Thus, it gets to be a long year when you are unemployed.