Should an Athletic Director Use Analytics To Make Better Coach Hiring

WVUALLEN

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Ask the question: How does this help me get an edge to be better, to be more profitable, to be more efficient or to win more games? If you are given a number, and if it does not help you create an edge or advantage, it is a stat, not an analytic metric.

With the annual season of head coach and coordinator shuffling and renewals, how can analytics help give an athletic director an edge or advantage?

The goal of analytics in a coach’s profile is to minimize risk and maximize potential.

There are several areas in which we have found analytics to be useful in the coach hire/fire/renewal processes:

1. Evaluating a current head coach for retention including a review of his progression/regression of key performance metrics (not stats), recruiting radius, player development and coordinator trends.
2. Filling a current head coach position
3. Beware the one hit wonder – Short term success versus long term viability
4. Understanding brand and program value (don’t bid against yourself)
5. Rewarding a new contract or extension based on expectations, value and performance
6. Who is your head coach hiring? Know who your head coach is hiring and setting your expectations for both the new hire and your head coach
7. Have a plan when performance starts to fade

One aspect of coach profiling we track is player development and in particular mass development. In the game of football, we have shown that force is a critical edge in performance at all levels of football. We see player development as important to overall coaching efficiency and many of the teams below are having results in 2018 well beyond their MWT expectations.

1. Purdue
2. North Texas
3. Old Dominion
4. New Mexico
5. Colorado
6. West Virginia
7. Appalachian State
8. Virginia
9. Wake Forest
10. East Carolina

Take a look at a couple examples of how analytics viewed the decision a couple athletic directors had in the past few years and how the analytics would have given a red light or green light to the four decisions. These are just two charts of the several trends and metrics we utilize to grade coaches and coordinators. In these case studies we illustrate one of our favorite initial tools to examine a head coach, Modified Win Total or MWT. (The Chart is in the link)

We all know that hiring is a risk, no matter who it is, with the exception of the rare occurrence of a new hire being the guy everyone wanted unequivocally (See Neal Brown). In this case study, risk could have been reduced and reward could have been a higher potential with other candidates. Athletic directors can use the big picture metrics to reduce risk and put themselves in a position of greater knowledge to negotiate better terms and reduce risk in the hire, track, fire processes.

At any level, recruiting is the life blood of the program. However, it is a skill set not gifted to every head coach. Without significant changes to infrastructure and culture, most programs recruit with a certain range of player. For a program, the first aspect of a program that starts to erode is often recruiting.


https://athleticdirectoru.com/articles/analytics-coach-hiring-decisions/
 
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xWVU2010x

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IMO money should now be going towards players, not coaches salaries. This buyout situation has absolutely screwed us, next time a school wants to pay millions of dollars to take a coach off of us, let ‘em and use that money to go buy a blue chip transfer or two or three. Baylor has in all likelihood been paying players under the table ever since Art Briles was hired and now they have seen sustained success over 3 different staffs in 15 years, not bad for a school with a history on par with Rutgers and private school resources.
 
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steeleer

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Neal on paper should have been perfect here. Regional guy (KY) who seems well grounded and a hard worker. Someone that can (and has) recruited well.

This is where analytics fail. You can't quantify a chip on your shoulder. Rod had one, Saban still has one despite all his success. Chip Kelly had one and lost it. So did Steve Spurrier. So did Rod. Neal never had one and likely never will.
 
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WVUALLEN

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Neal on paper should have been perfect here. Regional guy (KY) who seems well grounded and a hard worker. Someone that can (and has) recruited well.

This is where analytics fail. You can't quantify a chip on your shoulder. Rod had one, Saban still has one despite all his success. Chip Kelly had one and lost it. So did Steve Spurrier. So did Rod. Neal never had one and likely never will.
So Neal is just another Bill Stewart except tougher conference and schedule.
 

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