Tis’ Firing Season
It is abundantly clear that many schools do not make good decisions when it comes to deciding whether to retain or fire their head coaches. So I am here to help. I have come up with a simple, absolutely genius, and foolproof Coaching Test to determine whether or not your head coach needs to be fired.
Thanks to social media, fans, and boosters that scream about wanting their coaches fired are now heard. More often than not get their wish granted. As of November 29th, there have been 12 FBS head coaching jobs that have come open. None of these coaching changes were unexpected, but sometimes coaches are fired prematurely. Often, coaches are on an extremely short leash and are expected to win now despite the dysfunction they inherited. Fans and boosters want Clay Helton, and Gus Malzahn fired at USC and Auburn. But should they be gone as well?
2019 Coaching Changes
With some coaches having large buyouts, there are obvious financial ramifications to firing a head coach. In addition to financial ramifications of firing the coach, there is often a lot of uncertainty when you don’t know who the next head coach is going to be. Many fan bases that have called for their coaches to be fired are learning a hard lesson. You may get your wish with your coach being fired, but your new coach may be from the “scratch and dent bin.” There are good coaches in the scratch and dent bin, but they aren’t perfect and have some unsuccessful times in their history. But you got what you wanted, a new coach. Take Kliff Kingsbury for example. After Texas Tech fired him, his phone started ringing off the hook with job opportunities. Tell me if you think Kingsbury should have been fired after you take the test.
Unafraid Show Coaching Test
Every head coach needs to be reevaluated every season. It does not matter whether the coach went undefeated and won the championship or went defeated and zero games. You only need to answer two questions two know whether your coach needs to be fired or not.
Is there a coach that is guaranteed to take your job that is better than your current coach? Example: James Franklin is the head coach at Penn State. He seems to be doing a good job, but anyone clearly would fire him if Dabo Swinney or Nick Saban would replace him. Often coaches are fired, and the schools have no clue who will replace him.
I believe that is part of the reason USC did not fire Clay Helton. How many established, and winning head coaches would be willing to leave a successful program to go to USC. Coaches are more often valuing the stability at a top 11-25 job rather than jumping at the chance to coach a top 10 team.
Is there still hope? Can your current coach go into the living rooms of 17-21-year-old kids and sell them and their parents on the fact that the future of your program is brighter than the past? Can you make them buy in, believe, and go all in with you?
If you can’t answer both of these questions in the affirmative, then you need a head coaching change. The Unafraid Coaching Test is a simple and foolproof test. If Athletic Directors and administrators answered these two simple questions every season, they wouldn’t consistently mess up their programs. This method of determining whether to keep or fire your coach is an easy explanation to the boosters and other influential people around your program. It will keep the waters from being muddied by people with personal agendas and faulty reasoning. When Athletic Directors and administrations listen to the mob of angry fans, they mess up their programs by firing a coach too prematurely, or they rely on their gut/pride and keep the coach too long.
The angry mob of fans and boosters change their minds like the wind; their opinions cannot be trusted in the short term. Think about this. Last year Florida State fans couldn’t wait to get Jimbo Fisher out and Willie Taggart in. Now, they would happily take Jimbo back. Texas fans were unsure about Tom Herman’s prospects as head coach. Now the Longhorns fanbase is smiling.
Here are a couple of common questions I got when I explained this on #UnafraidShow:
What if the coach is winning, but he can’t recruit?
If your coach can’t recruit, then he can’t win long term. If he can’t win, there will be a loss of hope. When the loss of hope happens, fire your coach. Don’t fire a winning coach!
What if the coach recruits well, constantly goes 8-5 or 9-4, and can never get you “over the hump”?
This is clearly referring to Kevin Sumlin at Texas A &M last year. TAMU was able to get Jimbo Fisher who has won a national championship. So, firing Sumlin was a good move. If they had missed on Jimbo, the Aggies would have ROYALLY screwed up. A coach who recruits well and consistently stays in those win totals is really close to breaking through. If you miss on the big fish, you will wish for him back two years from now.
Next time you get into a discussion about whether or not the coach of your favorite team needs to be fired refer to the Unafraid Coaching Test.
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