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Many coaches want to climb that ladder to the top rung: head football coach.
And some do not.
Some just do not have that desire. They're more than happy coaching a position or coordinating one of the three sides of the ball for their career.
But then you have coaches who are just too anxious to be a head coach. They are two years in, or three years in, and think that they are ready to be a head coach.
I became a head coach after coaching for just four seasons, back in 2003. When my athletic director told me that he wanted me to take the job, I told him no! I knew I wasn't ready for that kind of responsibility. So they ended up opening the search for a few months. And as that was happening, he kept telling me that I could do it, and the staff gave me a vote of confidence. I eventually accepted the job, then spent eight years as a head coach.
That's not the right move for everybody. Check out these four things to consider if you are an assistant considering making the jump to head coach.1. Do you just want the title?
Some guys just want the title, their pride needs the title. If you are a "title chaser," then you need to remain an assistant coach until you don't need the title. The title comes with so much more responsibility than you probably even realize. Title chasers often do not count the cost before accepting the title, so then become disenfranchised quick. 2. Have you counted the costs?
Maybe you work for a head coach who isn't very good and you think that you can do better. You are impatient and want to just have your own program. But have you counted the costs? If your head coach isn't a good head coach, then you probably have not had a great example of what it really takes to be a good head coach. This means that you have not seen what it really takes. Do you really know the hours it takes? The painful meetings that you will have with parents, or admin? The fundraising? The transportation scheduling? The equipment ordering? 3. Do you know enough yet?
Can you coach every position on the field? Not HAVE you coached every position on the field but CAN you? There is a big difference. If you can't coach the secondary, how are you going to hire the best secondary coach, and be able to monitor the success of that coach?
As a head coach you should be able to step in and coach any position on the field. If you cannot do that, you shouldn't be a head coach. Sure, you want the best coaches possible as your assistants but you also should be able to handle some of the duties yourself. You should have a great understanding of every position, and literally be able to be a position coach at every position on the field.4. Does your family need you more?
The No. 1 reason coaches give when they step down is "family time." Sometimes that's just the easy way out, sometimes it is true. But what you need to do before really considering becoming a head football coach is making sure that your family is on board 100 percent. If they are not, you will not be supported at home, and that makes life even tougher.
When my wife of almost 13 years and I were getting serious, and started to talk about marriage, I actually sat her down one night and said "Let's discuss this thing because I'm about to become a head football coach, and here is what my life will look like." It was a serious talk. I laid out for her exactly what my week would look like during the season. The long weekend hours. I told her what my summers looked like with an eight-week program, three hours a day, with no pay.
If your children are of an age to understand the time commitment needed to be a head football coach, have that discussion with them as well. Just remember, your family needs you. It is tough to balance family life with being a coach, even harder as the head coach. Your family might need you more than you need to be a head coach.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.