It's that time of year again, when college head coaches start getting the ax. Several high profile coaches have already said farewell -- Gene Chizik, Frank Spaziani, Jon Embree -- and others are sure to follow.
But in this day and age, when so much money and resources are invested in college football coaches, are schools pulling the trigger too quickly? A recent piece of research suggests that some universities may want to think twice before cutting their coach.
The study is called "Pushing 'Reset:' The Conditional Effects of Coaching Replacements on College Football Performance," and it was co-authored by University of Colorado professors (Scott Adler and Michael Berry) along with Loyola University Chicago professor David Doherty. In the research, the professors analyze data from FBS teams between 1997 and 2008.
"I had always watched these teams fire coaches, pay for a buyout and then hire more expensive coaches and I wondered, 'Are they actually getting anything out of this?'" Adler told the Denver Post. "What we find is, as you go out to the fourth year, the difference between teams that did and didn't replace their coaches were just nonexistent. They were performing just about the same."
During the 11-year span of the study, approximately 10 percent of all FBS schools fired their coach after each season. The research examines two different types of firings: Coaches cut after poor seasons, and coaches cut after "middling" seasons (where teams finished around or just below .500).
The authors compared the new coach against other similarly performing schools who did not fire their coach, and they found that when the school had done "poorly" the year before, the new coach did not have much more success.
Interestingly, schools that fire their head coach after a "middling" season tended to experience somewhat of a backfire. The researchers explain:
"...for teams with middling records -- that is, teams where entry conditions for a new coach appear to be more favorable -- replacing the head coach appears to result in worse performance over subsequent years than comparable teams who retained their coach."
Auburn and Colorado fans, you can rest comfortably knowing there's nowhere to go but up. But for all the Purdue and N.C. State supporters, do know that the grass may not be greener on the other side.
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