On College Football Coaches

The bowl season is in full swing and the big bowls are just ahead. Besides a few retirees, 19 coaches have already lost their job while others have moved up the program ladder.

I live in Cincinnati and I’m a season ticket holder for UC Bearcat football. No doubt about it, Bearcat football has risen to never-imaginable heights.

UC Coach Brian Kelly receives his share of accolades – and deserve ably so. With a very good two-year record of (22-5), his name has been consistently linked to many of the top open positions.

Over the past two seasons I’ve learned that Brian Kelly can coach, Brian Kelly is a good PR guy for the program, and Brian Kelly is committed to excellence. On the other hand, I still have two important questions that have yet to be answered: Can he recruit and can the team be successful with his recruits?

Coach Kelly’s coaching style and scheme has been successful with the upperclassmen recruited to UC by previous-coach Mark Dantonio (now at Michigan State). I say this because much of a college team’s success lies in the combination of player skills and the coaching schemes.

Similar stories are not new to college football teams. Numerous examples exist of a new coach bringing a new scheme into a situation and then instant success; and many of those examples then turn south over time because they couldn’t recruit as well as the fired predecessor or the quality recruits didn’t fit into the scheme.

This post isn’t about Brian Kelly, but one that’s using his situation as an example. We fans like to think that our successful team will continue to be successful through the rest of time, but realistically, that won’t be so. After all, coaches come and go, as do recruits, schemes, administrative support, and fan support.

3 thoughts on “On College Football Coaches

  1. That is norm for coaches these days when hired is that the thought process of building a program has smaller window than it ever has. For the most part, it used to be coaches would be given more time to build a program back up. But people don’t understand that you sometimes have to take a step or two back before going forward.

    In Kelly’s case, he was brought in to have an immediate impact and it’s worked. Now it’ll be interesting to see how they handle expectations with how they’re performing. If they win their bowl game, they take another step forward. If not, it’s hard for anyone to say the season wasn’t a success.

    One Cincy’s opponents this year, Oklahoma, has had high expectations for so long that I continue to hear talk that Stoops should be gone if he doesn’t win the BCS Title Game. Granted, it’s disappointing to see how their bowl games have gone, but that’s just a ridiculous statement. If people only knew how bad John Blake wrecked the program before he got there, they wouldn’t be making comments like that. But then again, expectations have always been high in Norman going back to the Wilkinson and Switzer days when fans would wonder what was wrong with the team if they didn’t win by 40-50 points. At least somethings never change, but my school is in the hunt every year. It’s perfectly natural to crave more when you’ve already achieved most everything else accept win bowl games the last few years.

    Anyway, I like what Kelly is doing at Cincy, and winning the Big East is definitely something not to be overlooked from what he’s done.

    Nice work Frank!


    • Very true David. I keep think of the current Wisconsin coach as an example because the team seems to be sliding a bit the longer he’s there. But time will tell … and yes …. the big programs seem to have a short leash.


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