Video: Victor Cruz high school highlights
The former New York Giants star had awesome moves as a prep.
One of the most frequent questions that I get as part of my consulting business is: Should I be a head coach?
Many assistant coaches get the itch to take their career toward the "next step." For a lot of coaches out there, the next step is becoming a head football coach.
But is that the right step? For some it is. For some it is not.
Climbing the ladder of coaching usually looks like this: you start as a lower-level (freshman or junior varsity) position coach, then move to a lower-level coordinator, then to varsity position coach, varsity coordinator, and then head coach. Many coaches will serve both as a JV coordinator and varsity position coach at the same time, depending on how the staffs are run at a particular school.Gaining responsibility
Gaining more and more responsibility as you climb that coaching ladder will help to prepare you for being a head coach. If you are getting that responsibility, then you might be ready. Responsibilities might include taking over a certain part of the program from the head coach, like overseeing the booster club, or running the offseason program in the weight room. A head coach who sees that you are organized and have the leadership potential to take over a part of the program means that they trust you, and believe in you. But if you have not been in a position where you have had increased responsibility, then you might not be ready. Professional growth
Have you been growing as a coach every year? One of the best ways for coaches to grow professionally is through attending clinics in the offseason. This helps you learn new approaches to the position or units you coach. It helps you to network with other coaches, and stay abreast of the best practices in the profession. If you have been a constant learner as you have climbed the ladder, then you might be ready to be a head coach.What others are saying
I became a head coach at the age of 27. Looking back, I wasn't ready for that. But others around me confirmed that I had the tools of the trade. The head coach I was working for announced to our staff that he was leaving the state to start a football program at a school. Immediately after that meeting, he pulled me aside and told me that he was going to recommend to the administration to hire me. I was shocked. He explained to me that he saw a lot of potential in my ability to take over the program and that he was very impressed with how I led the JV program and coached the various varsity positions that I was charged with.
Our defensive coordinator also spoke with me that night, and encouraged me to take this step. Here was about 40 years of coaching experience confirming that I was ready to make the move. If others on your staff, especially the head coach, are confirming that being a head coach is the next logical step in your coaching career, then you should take the hint and realize that you are likely ready.Success in your increased roles
Have you had success as you have moved up that ladder? Did you take over the varsity defense and lead them to a new level of play, which was better than before you took over? Some coaches climb that ladder and find a great deal of success as their responsibility increases. They move from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator, and end up making the offense better. Or a coach takes over the special teams coordinating, and improves that part of the team. If you have had an increasing level of responsibility but you have not been able to make those areas better, you might not be ready to be a head football coach. If you have made the program better, you might be ready.
Chris Fore is a veteran Head Football Coach and Athletic Director from Southern California. He consults coaches and programs nationwide through his business Eight Laces Consulting.