Question about coaching changes...

Submitted by sheepman on December 6th, 2012 at 1:10 PM

It always seems like coaching changes are really ugly - sneaking out without telling anyone, shredding documents, stealing recruits...

But my question is - Why does it seem like they never tell the school and then finish the Bowl game. Can't they just coach that one last game and then go? Makes no sense to me.




December 6th, 2012 at 1:50 PM ^

I don't think coaches leaving before bowl games is necessarily about money. In some instances (Bielema leaving Wisconsin might be included here), there is a lot of hurt feelings and a sense of betrayal on the part of the school that lost the coach. Regardless of what Bielema wants, it could just as easily be that Alvarez is pissed that his hand-groomed heir is taking off. Plus, there are a lot of logistical considerations that people bring up below (e.g., both new and old coaches want to get a jump on recruiting at their new schools, getting teams acquainted with their new coaching staffs during bowl practices, etc).

I'm not sure how money plays into a coach leaving now for a new job v. sticking around his current position an extra month to coach one more game.


December 6th, 2012 at 1:12 PM ^

Magnus and others know lots more, but I think its all about recruiting.  The new coach needs to get in there immediately to have his staff hit the trails and do both damage control as well as look for their type of players.

I Like Burgers

December 6th, 2012 at 2:00 PM ^

If you wait until after the bowl game, you've burned a good 3-4 weeks of time that could have been dedicated to recruiting players and assistant coaches for your staff.  Its the difference between getting to the buffet line an 30min after it opens and 5 min before it closes.  It would be nice if they could finish, but if you're taking a new job, its just best to cut bait and move on.  And that's true for any job, just not coaches.


December 6th, 2012 at 1:18 PM ^

It's not really just one more game. It's a month of practice with guy he's never going to coach again, and a month where a new staff could in place talking to their recruits and keeping them off the edge


December 6th, 2012 at 1:19 PM ^

the view that the grass is greener on the other side has never been stronger.  Bowl games are big for the athletes, but $$$$ are bigger for some coaches.  Sad.


December 6th, 2012 at 1:56 PM ^

Maybe the players don't want to be coached by the coach that ditched them.

Maybe the AD sent the coach packing, and the coach had no say in the matter.

Maybe the new school said "come now or we're yanking your (possibly dream) offer."

Maybe money has absolutely nothing to do with it.

Or maybe we can just yell "things used to be so much better" and claim it's all because of a new found corruption that has permeated sports that never used to exist.


December 6th, 2012 at 3:08 PM ^

Correct me if I'm wrong...but Hoke was at SDSU for two years.  He was only eligable to go to a bowl in 2010. They won the Poinsettia Bowl over Navy on December 23, 2010. He was named Michigan's head coach on January 11, 2011.  I believe he coached that game? Rodriguez wasn't fired until January 4/5, 2011.  Where/Who said Hoke didn't coach that game?


December 6th, 2012 at 4:55 PM ^

You're right. I misremembered Hoke's exit. I remembered that he caught a bit of flack for how he left SDSU, but now that I think about it, I think he told the team he was leaving via text or something and that's what people thought was kind of dickish (but if I remember correctly, he got the job and had to leave while students were on break).

EDIT: I feel even dumber now that I thought about it for another second, because Rodriguez arguably lost the job for good after the Gator Bowl on January 1st, so of course Hoke hadn't been hired yet. Jesus, I'm a fucking idiot.


December 7th, 2012 at 2:32 AM ^

He did catch some flack, but the students were still on winter break and there was arguably no other way he could have done it. He had made no secret about the fact that Michigan was his dream job and that he would jump at the chance to coach Michigan. Also, he had a reunion of sorts with his former players at the 2011 SDSU game where he got to say a proper goodbye and good luck. 


December 6th, 2012 at 1:53 PM ^

I don't think it was ever posted on the board, but there was actually a study done of leadership succession in college football -

The findings are interesting really, particularly when it comes to performance-based replacements, a few of which we have seen recently. One intriguing line used to describe the line of research presented in the article, which seeks to question the idea that substandard performance is always directly attributable to substandard coaching:

"The notion is that firing a head coach may be more of a symbolic act and that fluctuations in performance are better attributed to factors out of the control of coaches: changes in the quality of opponents, loss of key players, or merely random shocks."

I read the study over lunch, and it was illuminating.

As for the the question posed by the OP, others have mentioned recruiting - if you look at it in the context of just this year, if I recall, the next dead period for recruiting starts on the 15th of this month and lasts until after the holidays (basically, nearly all of the bowl season), which for a coachless program would be an eternity essentially - I tend to believe details like this are part of the reason these changes happen when they do and with the seeming urgency that they do. I think the only exemptions apply to early enrollees.



December 6th, 2012 at 1:40 PM ^

This post is interesting. The whole coaching change thing seems to epitomize the way student athletes are exploited today. Coaches tell them one thng but then do the opposite.


That said, I'm very surprised to see Bielema leave for Arkansas. I thought he was totally committed to Wisconsin,.


December 6th, 2012 at 3:48 PM ^

Wisconsin didn't seem fully committed to him the way Arkansas is expected to be, though. Bielema had to hire all new assistant coaches on a pretty regular basis the last few years. At Arkansas he can basically rehire his entire former coaching staff back that Wisconsin allowed to go.


December 6th, 2012 at 1:48 PM ^

Of the many things people get mad about in college football, I think this is one of the least offensive.  Gregg Easterbrook gets all pissy every year about and rattles off a list of coaches he considers "snakes" for doing it, but then basically the whole coaching profession is nothing but snakes because just about everyone does it, or would do it given the chance.

Disloyalty manifests itself in other ways that are more worth spending energy on.


December 6th, 2012 at 1:49 PM ^

If Bo doesn't think a man leaving for somewhere else after the season is the right man to head the team going into postseason play, than no other AD should either.

I'd have to imagine the coaches loyalty to the team (and vice versa), media and personal distractions, low team morale and the absence of pressure to be successful by the staff as well as the team play huge roles in the whole concept of not allowing the exiting coach to coach from the point of his announcement forward.

His Dudeness

December 6th, 2012 at 1:54 PM ^

When you give a company your two weeks they usually don't have you around a few months for good times and great feelings amongst co-workers. They usually tell you that you can come back to get your shit, but that you don't need to bother coming back the next day.


December 6th, 2012 at 5:45 PM ^

First time I remember this happening is when Nick Saban left Sparty for LSU before the bowl games in 1999.  Just one year earlier, he publicly said how great it would be if UM/MSU could become like Florida/FSU, with a battle of top ten teams every year.  Then before you could blink, he leaves for SEC country muttering something about how MSU will always be in UM's shadow.  Nobody thought much of it at the time because he wasn't considered the coaching genius he is today. 

I think the timing may have always have been an issue with a coaching change.  When Don Canham offered Joe Paterno the Michigan job in '68, Paterno asked if he could make his final decision after Penn State played in their bowl game and Canham replied, "no.  I can't wait that long."  

I guess those 4 weeks really do make a difference when you're recruiting and getting a staff together.