Because of the high turnover rate among college football coaches, high school football recruits should base their commitment decisions on more than how much they like those coaches personally.
In fact, at the top-level college football programs, chances are only about 50-50 that a player’s head coach as a freshman will be the same person when he is a senior.
Recruits should also seek other information – such as whether the college itself is a good fit for them academically, socially, and geographically – when making a decision.
Head coach turnover averaged 17 percent annually over the past three years (2008-2010) at Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A) programs, which represent the highest level of competition, according to NCAA statistics. Turnover averaged 14 percent annually over the last three years at Division I Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) programs, which represent the next level of competition. No data is available for lower-division programs.
This suggests that over the most recent three-year period (2008-2010) in total, there were head coaching changes at nearly one-half of NCAA Division I football programs.
The NCAA turnover statistics don’t include offensive coordinators, defensive coordinators, and other assistant coaches, but many of them leave college programs each year too.
When a college hires a new head coach, it usually allows him to hire the assistant coaches he wants. Relatively few assistant coaches who worked for the former head coach are retained.”
Turnover among these assistant coaches is high as well, even when the head coach doesn’t change.
Assistant coaches usually are the primary points of contact for individual players, so a player’s college football experience can be even more directly affected when those assistants leave.
Coaching changes often begin in late November and December, soon after the end of a football season in which a college team fails to meet the expectations of fans, alumni, and other supporters.