Most coaches who have a desire to be a head football coach usually have a job that they consider to be their dream job. If you are one of the lucky ones, maybe you already have that job. But for the vast majority of coaches out there, that job still lies in the future.
Taking in consideration who has been hired for football jobs from 1A to 7A over the last couple of years, here is a glance at three of the most important things that seem to be driving hirings.
Head Coaching Success– This comes as no surprise to anyone. If a coach has taken a team to a great season or two, it can certainly help that resume in a hurry. And it can last a while. There are some coaches who have landed two or more jobs based on one good championship season even though the rest of their win totals have been very average. The philosophy behind this is simple- even if you had great players, you apparently knew what to do with them. But these guys may have difficulty if their talent level drops, or at smaller school where less guys are available. What this means in the long run is that even if a job doesn’t pay great, if you can have success, it may catapult you to a better position. In the coaching world, success always matters.
Previous relationship with the Decision Maker– No one likes to hire a head football coach that they do not know very well. In every situation, there is always a primary decision maker for the hire. It could be the superintendent or the principal. In some some instances in bigger schools it might be the athletic director. In some schools it may even be a mayor or a booster club president who swings the biggest club. If you know that person or have worked for them or with them before at another school, it certainly puts you in a good position-IF-you did a good job for them. They know about your character and work ethic. If you did a good job in the classroom, that helps your cause even more. At times, you may not know the primary decision make but you know someone who has his ear. So what does this mean to the coach? Do a great job of the job you have NOW! Someone is watching. That old boy that is the assistant band director may just be the superintendent at a great school district one day. Did you treat him and his program with respect? Many younger coaches get frustrated that they can’t land that first head coaching job. In truth, part of the problem is that they haven’t worked enough years or at enough places to develop that network of administrators that will be interested in them as a head coach. But this is the best way for younger coaches to get that first job. Coaches who were lazy and had character flaws for all to see will find few decision makers in their corner.
Relationship with the School– Sometimes a guy gets a job because he graduated from that school. But even more often they are hired because they worked for that school at one time and did a great job as an assistant coach. Respect by the administration, the players and the community will not be soon forgotten, as long as that coach left on good terms. When the head coach resigns and the program has had success, it is common to look for a quality coach already on the staff. This allows for some continuity. Plus the decision maker will be familiar with that coach, increasing the chances of the hire if they have a good relationship. Hiring is still a relationship and trust issue. If you were the head coach of another sport, were you organized? Did your team play hard? Did the parents and players have respect for the job that you did?
The most important thing for coaches to remember as they seek that next coaching job is to be great where you are right now. There is someone watching you and your teams at all times.
And don’t make fun of the assistant band director.