Coaching Football's "Little Things"

Developing a Consistently Successful Football Program

New Head Coach

Posted by admin December - 1 - 2010 - Wednesday

I had a coaching friend write yesterday that his school hired a new HC about 3 weeks ago and the new guy still hasn’t met nor interviewed any of the coaches from the previous staff! He is wondering what, as an assistant coach in limbo, he should do.

Head Coaches and those of you who are assistants aspiring to be HC’s one day: THIS is for you!

The new HC has said that he will wait until February to meet/interview the current assistants and… at that point he probably won’t keep many of them around! I find it hard to believe that any new HC would want to conduct business this way. What a complete “turn off” to the previous staff. I’ve always tried to live by the Golden Rule: “Do unto others the way that you want to be treated.” Sound advice straight from the Bible! It has helped me to see things from the other guy’s perspective. In this case, this new HC has been an assistant coach. He should be able to look at his new situation and think from the assistant’s point of view. Is this the way he would want to be treated if he were on the previous staff?

As a new HC, one of the first items on your list of “Things to Do” is to meet with and interview your staff. Before you can proceed with anything, you need to decide who you’re going to keep. Thank the others and send them on their way. You need the help and support that only assistant coaches can provide. You certainly don’t tell them that you won’t even be talking with them for 2-3 months!

The other thing that you do right off the bat is to meet with the players… collectively and then individually. All of this is laying the foundation for what you plan on being a program that people can get excited about and support. The first impression is often the lasting impression!!!

If you are in the position of this assistant coach who contacted me, I advised him to meet with the new HC and (respectfully) get some answers. Based on what the HC told him, it would be in his best interest to start looking around at other schools. While this is happening though, he should continue to “reach out” to the new HC and see if he needs/wants any help; what he’s planning; and where the assistant might be in a position to be valuable to the HC.

I know from my 22 years of experience as a HC that I appreciated assistants who didn’t wait around to be told something needs to be done but rather stepped up and got to work. They showed some initiative. Ask him what needs to be done and get to work on it. Make yourself “indispensable” to him and he will have to keep you on!

If, however, you find that it’s just not going to be a situation where you feel you can support the new HC and his philosophy, you have learned enough about him and his ways to make an honest and fairly in-depth evaluation of the new program. The guy may be nervous and feel stressed already…. but doesn’t want to show it. So he comes across as cocky and too self-assured. He’ll find out pretty quick that having competent assistant coaches is an invaluable part of any high school football program.

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