best counter

Your Ad Here
Just The Sports: When Good Coordinators Leave

Just The Sports

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

When Good Coordinators Leave

There are both advantages and disadvantages to being a successful college head coach. On the one hand, you will be paid a handsome sum, have airtight job security, and be able to achieve god-like status in your university city and among your more fervent alumni. On the other hand, you will have to deal with other universities hiring away your top assistant coaches as they seek the recreate the winning atmosphere for themselves. Then it will be up to you as a head coach to replace these assistant with other assistants who are just as good or risk a decline like the two universities, Florida State and Oklahoma, are experiencing now after two of their top coaches landed head coaching gigs elsewhere.

The first coordinator I want to discuss is Mark Richt, who was the quarterbacks coach at Florida State from 1990-2000 and the quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator from 1994-2000. He left Florida State after 2000 to become the head coach at the University of Georgia where he is still the head coach. Since I only had box scores extending back to 1995, I split up the data from 1995-2000 to 2001-2005 and the differences between Florida State's offense under Mark Richt and Florida State's offense now is astounding.

With 95% confidence, I can see that there is a statistically significant difference (i.e, the numbers went down) in the following numbers: pass completions, pass attempts, passing yards, points, yards per pass attempt, and completion percentages. Under Richt, quarterbacks completed 58.1% of their passes with 8.4 yards per pass attempt and completed only 55.3% with 7.4 yards per pass attempt. Not surprisingly, there is no statistically significant difference between the rushing yards and yards per carry since Richt's expertise is in coaching up quarterbacks.

Even though there may be other confounding variables, I believe if Richt had stayed at Florida State, they would have recruited better quarterbacks (remember, D.J. Shockley following Richt to Georgia) and the quarterbacks that did play for Florida State would have played a lot better (see, Chris Rix.)

Mike Stoops, brother of Bob Stoops, is the other coordinator worth mentioning. He was an associate head coach, co-defensive coordinator, and secondary coach at Oklahoma from 1999-2003 before being hired as a head coach by the University of Arizona. The time frame makes it harder for differences to be statistically significant, but the differences that were statistically significant had to do with the secondary's performance. Completion percentage (49.0% to 53.7%) and passing yards allowed (175.3 per game to 210.0 per game) are two major differences between Oklahoma's defense with Mike Stoops and the defense since and both have to do with secondary play.

Again, I am not trying to say the absence of Mike Stoops is the only reason for the decline, but it is an interesting correlation to look at.

These two examples should show that the best road to success a head coach can take is to surround himself with as many bright assistant coaches as he can and hope that all of those coaches lack any ambition at all. Barring that, he should always be on the lookout for the next great assistant coach to replace the one that is sure to leave eventually.


Post a Comment

<< Home