Should an AD also gets fired when the HC he hired loses his job?

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Miami RedHawks

Miami RedHawks

On Sunday, Oct. 6th 2013 the Miami University in Ohio Athletic Director David Saylor annouced that the University relieved head football coach Don Treadwell of his responsibilities immediately.

Here’s the twitter discussion I had with Yoga Football Girl on Sunday (Oct. 6th) shortly after the firing was announced:

Well, and so I am here now writing down my thoughts about firing a Coach in midseason, and if that should have consequences for the hiring (and firing) Athletic Director…

Let’s first have a look on how I feel about firing a Head Coach in midseason.

First of all – as ususal 😉 – it depends…

But what does it depend on?

There are a few questions to be answered:
– How long has the coach been on duty?
– How did the previous seasons go? If there were any…
– Where did the program come from when the Headcoach took over?
– What was the agreed common goal for the team? For the current season and long term. Was it just Wins and Losses? Or where other things more important? If so, which ones and how were these measured?

OK, let’s have a look at the answers to these questions concerning Coach Don Treadwell the now former Headcoach of the Football Program of the University of Miami, Ohio:

Q: How long has he been on duty?
A: This was his third season.

Q: How did the previous seasons go?
A: Both were losing seasons with no progress: Both were 4-8

Q: Where did the program come from when the Headcoach took over?
A: The Red Hawks played a successful 10-4 season including winning the Marathon MAC Championship and the Bowl. – But looking back only one season wouldn’t be fair, because the year before that the Red Hawks went 1-11 (both under Mike Haywood), and before that 2-10, 6-7, 2-10, 7-4 (in reverse order) under Shane Montgomery – so besides the 10-4 miracle season their last winning season was 7 seasons ago (2005).

The answers about agreed goals for the program have to remain unanswered – we simply don’t know…

So, what do we make out of this? To be honest it’s hard to believe that Don Treadwell met the agreed goals (which very likely at least also contained something like getting bowl invitations, or at least getting close to it. If these goals were fair, I cannot determin, but if not, then it’s also Treadwell’s fault agreeing to something I doesn’t see he can accomplish. So we don’t have to argue if the firing was justified or not.

Which leads us to the next question:

Why after only five games?

Well, first of all: all five games were lost, that combined with losing the last 4 games of the previous season makes a 9 game losing streak.

So, if the organization decides to part ways with the current headcoach after the season, then why wait? Hmmm, let’s put the question a bit different:
What does the program lose when they wait until after the last game?

During the season the team might get into an even deeper slump, as the HC probably knowing he’s persuing a lost cause, might change priorities and doesn’t think beyond the last game of the season – and honestly, why should he?
On the other hand it’s a kind of wakeup call to all those remaining (players and coaches) – and more often than we think a change, any kind of change, gives new motivation, as you have to focus on what changed and how to adjust to it.

Albert Einstein once said: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

So if the changes the current HC is making (if he’s doing any at all) don’t seem to be different enough to expect different results, then the change has to be on his position.
But that’s not all. The other things are money and recruiting. Somewhat interwoven, even though not as obivous as it might be:
Good HighSchool athletes want to go to good, winning programs, they don’t like to go to “losers”, Alumni and other sponsors are much more willing to give their money to a willing program (and open their purses wider the more the program wins), which in turn enables the University to invest more into things that also help recruiting (Facilities, fancy Uniforms and helmets, and all those other things they can give to the student athletes without breaking the NCAA rules).

And, in the long run, as much as it hurts getting fired, it might be even better for the coach to be fired in midseason than late in the offseason: So, when the coaching carousel starts spinning he’s already available and everybody knows about it, so that it might be easier for him to find a new coaching job than when he get’s fired after all the newly open coaching jobs are already filled again…

So, as an conclusion I don’t see much sense in keeping a coach any longer once you decided to part ways…

Now back to the original question:

“Should an AD also gets fired when the HC he hired loses his job?”

And again it depends:

I’d say: “YES, absolutely!”
but only the firing is because of reasons that could and should have been known to the Athletic Director at the time of hiring. To make it clearer here a rather drastic example: If an AD would hire Sandusky now, and then later Sandusky gets fired for reasons we all know all too well. Then of course I’d fire the AD right along.
I’d say: “YES, probably!”
if the AD had anything to do with the reasons the HC gets fired for. Another example: The HC was bending/breaking the NCAA rules and/or Organization rules, and the AD knew about it without stepping in or even encouraging the HC in his actions. Then I think the AD should be fired, too.
I’d say “Well, maybe…”
if the HC fails to turn a program around or keep it at the expected level (see above about agreed goals). I’d usually say you should give a new HC at least 2-3 seasons to form HIS team – don’t forget in the first year he’s playing with at least 75% of players he didn’t recruit, who didn’t come to him as being the HC, at the time they decided to come to the program. And the other 25% are only freshmen. So chances are there are only few impact players on the field who are “his” players. So the sooner after the hiring the HC gets fired for poor team performance the more you should also hold the AD responsible for it.
and finally I’d say: “absolutely NOT!”
if the reasons for firing the HC were absolutely beyond the control of the AD. Again an example (absolutely no reference to any true story intended): if a HC gets fired for being (continuosly) getting arrested for whatever, you name it (DIU, domestic violence, …) and hasn’t had any record about anything like that at the time of hiring… I don’t think you could blame the AD for that.

These are my thoughts about it. What do you think?

Please leave your comments below:

Disclaimer: I’ve never been involved with any kind of collegiate sports program – so if some of my assumptions are simply wrong, baer with me, and let me know where I’m wrong.

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