Hiring and Firing NFL and College Football Coaches: Does Your Company Make the Same Mistakes?

Jan 16, 2024

In November, the Las Vegas Raiders let Josh McDaniels go, the Carolina Panthers fired Frank Reich, and Texas A&M gave Jimbo Fisher his pink slip. What can we learn from the hiring and firing practices we are seeing in the NFL and NCAA coaching ranks?

Let’s assume for argument's sake that all 3 of these coaches are qualified (and on the face of it, it appears that they all are), but the hiring didn’t work out for one reason or another. Why is that?

As an outsider looking in, here are some of the questions I have regarding these hires:

  • What qualities were they looking for with these coaching hires?
  • Did they have the technical skills required to succeed in this role?
  • Did they have the leadership skills required to get men to follow them into battle?
  • Did they have the communication skills and passion to fire up their team?
  • Maybe most importantly, was there chemistry and were they a good cultural fit for the organization?

Sometimes you may want someone who has a specific type of background, but the company culture is not supportive of that type of background, so it’s just a matter of time before that hire is on an island, doomed to be let go.

Now let’s look at another side of the issue. Who are the key decision-makers? Are the executives making the decisions qualified to make those decisions, do they defer to the career professionals in the room, or do they make the decision because it’s their club and they can do what they want to?

Whether you own an NFL franchise and are hiring a coach, or you own a carpet manufacturing company, isn’t it best to let the executives who will be running the day-to-day operations make those critical decisions?

Hiring executives for an NFL team, a Division One football team, or an EV battery manufacturing facility are critical decisions. Make sure you align the skills of the candidate to your organization, and make sure you have the right decision-makers in the room, not the loudest voices.

About the Author

Guy Ross

Guy joined Kimmel & Associates in 1998. He spent more than 20 years working with general contractors and developers in California, Nevada, and Arizona. In 2020, he was ready for a new challenge and he transitioned to our Logistics & Supply Chain Division.

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