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  1. #1
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    "Once in a lifetime" Coaching Opportunities

    I thought I'd look at just how often the "once in a lifetime" coaching opportunity comes up - the chance to be a head coach at one of college football's most storied programs. I looked at how many coaches have been employed for a full season at the following schools from 1970 - 2010:

    • Alabama - 8
    • Texas - 5
    • Florida - 7
    • Oklahoma - 6
    • LSU - 8
    • USC - 7
    • Notre Dame - 8
    • Ohio State - 4
    • Michigan - 4
    • Nebraska - 5
    That's a total of 52 head coaching hires over the course of 40 years at the biggest and best football programs in the nation - an average of 1 - 2 new head coaches per year between these 10 programs. From 1970 - 2010, there were only eight seasons in which none of the listed schools hired a new head coach. Over the past 40 years, at least one of these major football programs has been looking for a new head coach nearly every year. Unless someone had a desire to get to one particular school, there are lots of "once in a lifetime" opportunities. The average coaching tenure at these schools is 7 seasons. This average includes the careers of Tom Osborne (25 years at Neb), Barry Switzer (16 years at OU), Llyod Carr (13 years at Michigan) and John Cooper (13 years at Ohio State). The median tenure was 5 years.

    Note that the numbers above total to 62 coaches - each school already had a coach to begin the 1970 season, so they didn't get counted as a "hire". Also, the tenure of these coaches was not included in the average tenure for each school. I purposely left Penn State and Florida State off the list. I felt that those would be outliers and unlikely to repeat and I think the data I collected agrees. Besides Tom Osborne, the next longest single tenure coach (Barry Switzer at 16 years) was less than half of Bowden's (34 years) and Paterno's (45 years through 2010) tenure. It is much more likely that those schools will begin hiring new coaches every 5 - 10 years like everyone else than it is that they hire one coach for the next 30+ years.


    Last edited by besserheimerphat; 12-16-2011 at 02:30 PM.
    You can spend a lot of time and money picking out the perfect floral bouquet for your date ... but you're probably better off checking if you have bad breath and taking the porn out of the glove compartment.

    The moral: you gain more by not being stupid, than you do by being smart. Smart gets neutralized by other smart people. Stupid does not.

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    Re: "Once in a lifetime" Coaching Opportunities

    Interesting.

    I sense that this is an indirect comment (or, if that wasn't the intent, it could be) related to speculation about Rhoads jumping ship for a high-profile job opening at a big-time program.

    The idea seems to be that a coach would be crazy not to move up if the opportunity arose, because those chances are rare. Your analysis at least partly debunks that.



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    Re: "Once in a lifetime" Coaching Opportunities

    I find it interesting that the open Penn State job is probably the only "truly" once in a lifetime job, but the circumstances have caused coaches to shy away from it. Discuss.



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    Re: "Once in a lifetime" Coaching Opportunities

    Quote Originally Posted by cyclones500 View Post
    Interesting.

    I sense that this is an indirect comment (or, if that wasn't the intent, it could be) related to speculation about Rhoads jumping ship for a high-profile job opening at a big-time program.

    The idea seems to be that a coach would be crazy not to move up if the opportunity arose, because those chances are rare. Your analysis at least partly debunks that.
    Yep, the "Rhoads to Pitt" talk and even the "Herman to OSU" talk got me wondering how often these positions really come open. I didn't intend it to be directly related to Rhoads, but that's where the idea came from. Every year you hear about somebody who would "be crazy to turn that job down." It turns out there's a reason that you hear that every single year - there's usually at least one big job available every single year. You have to think that coordinator positions are available much more often, as head coaches are usually given one chance to change coordinators before being fired. And if the head coach is successful, he may go through multiple coordinators as they are poached to other schools.


    You can spend a lot of time and money picking out the perfect floral bouquet for your date ... but you're probably better off checking if you have bad breath and taking the porn out of the glove compartment.

    The moral: you gain more by not being stupid, than you do by being smart. Smart gets neutralized by other smart people. Stupid does not.

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    Re: "Once in a lifetime" Coaching Opportunities

    1970-2010 = 40 yrs.



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    Re: "Once in a lifetime" Coaching Opportunities

    Good info but I will add one other criteria to the "Once in a Lifetime" talk.
    If I am a coach looking to move to one of these jobs, I also have to figure in where my stock is at the time.
    If a coach "Smith" has 5 out of 7 (avg coaching tenure) good years at his current school but results aren't as strong his last 2, and one of these opportunities comes up, he is not nearly as attractive. Unless your name is Eugene Chizik you better factor this in as well


    Exaggeration is a BILLION times worse than understating.

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    Re: "Once in a lifetime" Coaching Opportunities

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry View Post
    1970-2010 = 40 yrs.
    derp

    fixed now.


    You can spend a lot of time and money picking out the perfect floral bouquet for your date ... but you're probably better off checking if you have bad breath and taking the porn out of the glove compartment.

    The moral: you gain more by not being stupid, than you do by being smart. Smart gets neutralized by other smart people. Stupid does not.

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    Re: "Once in a lifetime" Coaching Opportunities

    This is not my beautiful wife.


    TRUE AND VALIANT

  9. #9
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    Re: "Once in a lifetime" Coaching Opportunities

    Quote Originally Posted by wartknight View Post
    Good info but I will add one other criteria to the "Once in a Lifetime" talk.
    If I am a coach looking to move to one of these jobs, I also have to figure in where my stock is at the time.
    If a coach "Smith" has 5 out of 7 (avg coaching tenure) good years at his current school but results aren't as strong his last 2, and one of these opportunities comes up, he is not nearly as attractive. Unless your name is Eugene Chizik you better factor this in as well
    I agree, and that will factor into which jobs are available to you. Maybe in Coach Smith's high leverage year, it's OSU looking for a new coach. In a Coach Jones' high leverage year, it's Alabama. And there will be issues with how well a particular coach "fits" with a given program.


    You can spend a lot of time and money picking out the perfect floral bouquet for your date ... but you're probably better off checking if you have bad breath and taking the porn out of the glove compartment.

    The moral: you gain more by not being stupid, than you do by being smart. Smart gets neutralized by other smart people. Stupid does not.

  10. #10
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    Re: "Once in a lifetime" Coaching Opportunities

    Quote Originally Posted by besserheimerphat View Post
    I thought I'd look at just how often the "once in a lifetime" coaching opportunity comes up - the chance to be a head coach at one of college football's most storied programs. I looked at how many coaches have been employed for a full season at the following schools from 1970 - 2010:

    • Alabama - 8
    • Texas - 5
    • Florida - 7
    • Oklahoma - 6
    • LSU - 8
    • USC - 7
    • Notre Dame - 8
    • Ohio State - 4
    • Michigan - 4
    • Nebraska - 5
    That's a total of 52 head coaching hires over the course of 40 years at the biggest and best football programs in the nation - an average of 1 - 2 new head coaches per year between these 10 programs. From 1970 - 2010, there were only eight seasons in which none of the listed schools hired a new head coach. Over the past 40 years, at least one of these major football programs has been looking for a new head coach nearly every year. Unless someone had a desire to get to one particular school, there are lots of "once in a lifetime" opportunities. The average coaching tenure at these schools is 7 seasons. This average includes the careers of Tom Osborne (25 years at Neb), Barry Switzer (16 years at OU), Llyod Carr (13 years at Michigan) and John Cooper (13 years at Ohio State). The median tenure was 5 years.

    Note that the numbers above total to 62 coaches - each school already had a coach to begin the 1970 season, so they didn't get counted as a "hire". Also, the tenure of these coaches was not included in the average tenure for each school. I purposely left Penn State and Florida State off the list. I felt that those would be outliers and unlikely to repeat and I think the data I collected agrees. Besides Tom Osborne, the next longest single tenure coach (Barry Switzer at 16 years) was less than half of Bowden's (34 years) and Paterno's (45 years through 2010) tenure. It is much more likely that those schools will begin hiring new coaches every 5 - 10 years like everyone else than it is that they hire one coach for the next 30+ years.
    Maybe I am an underachiever in life. But one way I see your data, is that these jobs aren't all that secure. Especialy when you factor in the Tom Osbournes and the Barry Switzers. I'm assuming this is somewhat directed to the "Rhoads can still leave" argument that some have posed. But in all honesty, if I were a coach, it would be far from being all about money and that "prestige" job. It's obvious that over the years, as bad as ISU has been, the tenure here is as good as Ohio State and a helluva lot better than at Alabama and Notre Dame. The problem with those big schools is they expect National Championships. Not even just BCS games. If you are winning Championships, you might as well be losing all your games.

    It's a lot easier, imo to be loved by tens of thousands of people at ISU than it is at any of the schools on that list. You can build a name for yourself and be a legend. Because it's a hell of a lot easier to be hated by tens of thousands of people at schools on that list than it is at Iowa State also. Even with Dan McCarney being pushed out of his job here, I know a lot of people that still love the guy for what he did here and would love to have him back for a visit. How many would feel that way about even Gene Chizik at Auburn, with a NC under his belt. A couple of more less than stellar seasons at Auburn and he'll be black balled forever from that community. And he could still be taking teams to bowl games.



  11. #11
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    Re: "Once in a lifetime" Coaching Opportunities

    Those "Once in a lifetime" gigs are places where success is required. For example, Earle Bruce did pretty well at tOSU after he left ISU - finishing 1st or 2nd in the B1G 6 times in 9 years, and finishing no worse than 15 in the polls. One 6 win season and he was out of there.



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    Re: "Once in a lifetime" Coaching Opportunities

    If you have 20 million guaranteed for 10 years it might be better than 3.5 million if you only get 4 years to succeed. A lot of it is opportunity cost.

    Job security is tough to come by at the powerhouse school.
    Look at the reasons why coaches leave these dream jobs.
    Many were fired after sub-par seasons.
    Others had to resign because of NCAA scandals (and now legal scandals).
    Some were forced to retire because the coach in waiting was looking elsewhere and the AD thought they would do better.
    A few of the coaches have made runs at the NFL (some of them coming right back to college).
    A few (very few) were able to retire on their own terms.


    Also of note: All of these schools have had down years for multiple reasons. Bad coaching hires, NCAA sanctions, conference change...
    The schools just have enough support and prestige that the right hire can reinvigorate them.



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