Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

Firing and Hiring

Posted by admin November - 23 - 2014 - Sunday

It’s that time of year. Except for a “lucky few” who are still in the hunt for a state championship, the 2014 season has ended. If you’ve inventoried and put away the equipment and had your banquet, I can say that the season is officially over. But….

There is one other duty that any head coach dreads. You should meet with each staff member and give them a year-end evaluation. For some, it’s going to mean telling them that they will not be returning. It’s one of the hardest things any supervisor or administrator has to do. IF… you have to do it, please do it face to face.

You know how people get enraged when they hear, “‘So and so’ broke up with Beth with a text! Can you believe that?! How classless can you get?!” Well, the same thing holds true if you have to terminate a coach. Don’t send a text nor an email. Even a phone call is still not the right way to do it. I strongly recommend that you do it face to face. It’s the professional way to handle the situation.

On the other end of the spectrum, there’s the hiring of new coaches. I learned something this weekend. I made it known that I had 3 positions open. I was in contact with several of my former players who are now coaching in the area. They all expressed an interest in meeting with me and exploring the opportunity of joining my staff. I have already hired one of them. This new coach whom I’d just hired told me that he would talk with his current (now “former”) head coach and let him know that he is taking a new position at my school.

However, in the midst of this, I received a text from that “former” head coach. Someone had told him that I had hired one of his assistants. He was very upset with me that I didn’t call him to tell him that I would be talking to one of his assistants. I texted back once— then decided that I needed to talk with him. Here is a situation where a phone call trumps a text. I like what I heard somebody say about texting: it’s solely for conveying bits of information. If you have to go into depth, make a call. I knew it was going to be unpleasant but, as my wife said, “Take the high road, Lew.” So I called. I started off by apologizing; told him that I was sorry and would he please forgive me. But… I also told him that I didn’t realize that I’d done anything wrong. I have lost several coaches from my staff over the years and I never had another head coach call me to say that he was talking to my assistant. I explained that to him and I hope he understood.

My point is: do the right thing. If you can’t conduct yourself in the highest degree of integrity then maybe you’re not cut out to be a leader yet. A leader has to make the tough calls. A leader has to know that the buck stops with him. It’s not always pleasant but it comes with the territory. The other thing my wife said as I hesitated in calling this coach, “Buck up, Coach! Go make the call. You can do it!!!” So I did. You can too.

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