The Coaching Carousel



For many people the turnover with coaches in entertainment. After being a player and coach I can tell you that’s not the perspective for those sitting in that position. I experienced my college coaching staff getting fired and it turned worlds upside down. Not just the coaches, but their families, some of the support staff, and, of course, me and my teammates’ worlds were rocked too.

The people who sat in our living rooms and told our parents they would take care of us were removed like a flash of light. It wasn’t like it is now with transferring being so easy and, even more recently, not having to sit out a year. I’m lucky in that many of these coaches I still talk to today.

When I was playing professionally, this happened again – coaches getting fired – but I was in a different place maturity wise. At that level it still sends shockwaves through people’s worlds, but because of the nature of the beast, it just seemed like a business transaction.

There is a saying, “there are two types of coaches, those that have been fired and those that will be fired.” I have been both. Fortunately, I only had to experience that once but it made me a better coach and person.

When it happens for you (and I purposely said “for” and not “to” you), something shifts in your perspective; there’s a personal and professional maturing that takes place. Coaches with families have to deal with a whole other level of uncertainty and fear your family has to process. This is devastating to the children of coaches. Many of their friends were the kids of the other coaches.

In my current role I can also tell you about the other side of the process, the side as an administrator and having to be the person to share the bad news. This side is not fun at all as sometimes you may have formed a great relationship with the person to let go. But I can say with certainty it has brought yet another level of maturity and perspective to me both professionally and personally.

But back to the entertainment of “Black Sunday” or “Black Monday” where traditionally college and professional football coaches get fired. Coaches and agents are on the phones almost 24 hours a day. This continues all the way through the Coaches Conferences in early January. You can tell the coaches who are searching for a job – they’re dressed for a potential interview and walk with a purpose. The conference is a great place to do networking and catching up with old colleagues. And if you can meet a potential future employer you feel making the trip was worth it.

So many of us absolutely love our sports and the entertainment they bring to us. Every time I watch a game I am reminded of the reality that those coaches and athletes depend on having success to provide for their families. And there are many family members who know it’s more than a game – it’s their friends; it’s the kids and their teachers and school they just got comfortable with. It’s so much more than a game for those on the inside.

This blog goes out to all the coaches who have been on the coaching carousel and to all those who will be on it. Make sure you treat the people around you with all the respect possible. You will need each other in the present and in the future. Coaching is a small circle and most likely you will see each other again when the carousel comes back around.

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