Has the bar been set too high for college football coaches?

William Ricks | Contributing Writer

Being a head coach for any sport is a tough job, especially in college football. Many coaches are learning that this season, as a number of them are being fired from their college football teams.

A lot of them have led their teams to above-average records and have brought success to their program, but are still being let go.

Now, people have begun asking this question: Has the bar been set too high for college coaches?

Coaches have been fired throughout the season, with most of the firings coming in the recent weeks. Some of these names are big ones, including Texas A&M firing Kevin Sumlin, UCLA letting go of Jim Mora, Arizona State sending Todd Graham home and Mississippi State’s Dan Mullen resigning to go to Florida.

As of Nov. 28, a total of 14 college football coaches had either resigned, been fired or mutually parted ways with their team. Out of the 14, seven had a record of .500 or better during their tenure.

In college football, winning at least six games makes a team eligible for a bowl game, and many of these coaches have brought many bowl victories to their schools.

Even though they are bringing back bowl trophies and getting national recognition, they are still being let go, simply because the athletic directors set the bar so high for their programs.

Lots of athletic directors see the amount of success that Alabama’s Nick Saban, Ohio State’s Urban Meyer and Clemson’s Dabo Swinney have with their programs. The three coaches have a combined total of 400-plus wins, 28 bowl wins and nine national championships while coaching at their schools. When athletic directors see this amount of success, they want their programs to achieve the same level.

These prosperous programs have set the standard for other schools, and anything less than that is a failure in the eyes of the fans, boosters and athletic directors.

In this day in sports, coaches are constantly on the hot seat, no matter how long they’ve been with their program. The shelf life of the head coaching job has diminished because the demand for success is so high. With fans and booster clubs having so much impact on their coach’s future, if they are not satisfied with the team’s success, they will push for them to be removed.

Many football programs want immediate success, but fail to realize that building a championship program takes time.

If athletic directors make the head coaching job a revolving door for their schools, will they ever be able to achieve the success of schools like Ohio State, Clemson or Alabama?

It is hard for coaches to turn around a program with the athletic directors, boosters and fans wanting immediate results. Making a championship team in only one season almost never happens. It takes time to build a winning culture. Maybe the new culture of instant success isn’t fair to the coaches who take on these new programs.

The bar is set very high in college football, as it is one of the most popular college sports in America. So, should college football programs re-evaluate how they measure success? Is it fair for university officials to have expectations to be the next Alabama immediately after hiring a coach?

College football is a win-now league, and many universities are adopting this new culture.


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