With college football program spring games quickly approaching, football is back in the limelight and with it a fresh start for many head coaches around the country. So with all those new head coaches hired, those teams are assured future success, right? That’s the question that David Doherty, professor of political science at Loyola, wanted to answer during his co-authored study that examined the effect that replacing the head coach of a collegiate football program has on the performance of the team.
Doherty co-authored the study with two other colleagues from the University of Colorado. The goal of the study was to determine whether replacing a head football coach is an effective strategy for improving team performance.
In the end, Doherty and his colleagues found that for particularly poorly performing teams, coach replacements have little effect on team performance as measured against comparable teams that did not replace their coach. However, for teams with middling records—that is, teams where entry conditions for a new coach appear to be more favorable—replacing the head coach appears to result in worse performance over subsequent years than comparable teams who retained their coach.
Doherty hopes that the findings from this study will encourage universities to think twice before spending substantial resources on replacing their head coach. “Replacing the head coach is often an extremely expensive investment that, at least on average, does not appear to pay off.”
For complete results of the study, click here.