FanPost

A Quick Follow-up Note on "the Great Man Theory" of Coaching

So earlier this summer, when UNC suddenly fired Butch Davis, I mentioned how UCLA dodged a bullet. In that post I referenced a specific SBNation.com  post from Paul Wadlington (from the great Texas blog Barking Carnival) entitled "Chris Peterson, Brad Stevens and the Great Man Theory of Coaching". Here is quick look at Wadlington's theory:

"Can you imagine what Chris Petersen would do with our talent on offense?"

(Finishes beer. Attacks peanut bowl)

"Please imagine what Brad Stevens would do with our lottery picks."

(Posts reply. Scans basement walls)

The logic - promulgated by a media beguiled by the Great Man Theory of Coaching -- is persuasive: just hire the coach and you get their program. Add the Butler/Boise Way to the superior resources and prestige of a name program, give them elite athletes to coach instead of overachieving scrappers, and the trophy case will be bursting with hardware. It's little wonder that Brad Stevens and Chris Petersen are the two most coveted coaching candidates in collegiate athletics.

Except that it hasn't worked. When Boise and Butler lose their sought after head coaches, their teams get better. And the big name programs that take those coaches almost always get worse. These are inconvenient, if incomplete, data points. They merit exploration.

It looks like Jon Wilner also indirectly referenced that theory while discussing the vacancy at Arizona:

[S]houldn't the failure of Dan Hawkins at Colorado - and Dirk Koetter at ASU, to a slightly lesser extent - make AQ conference athletic directors pause for a nanosecond before they open the vault for Petersen?

(Heck, look at Kyle Wittingham, who's a quality coach by any measure. He won 9+ games four years in a row at Utah ... and then along came the Pac-12.

(One thing people forget: The AQ leagues don't only have better players. They have better coaches, too.)

It's something we should keep in mind here on BN as well.

GO BRUINS.

<em>This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of BruinsNation's (BN) editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of BN's editors.</em>

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Bruins Nation

You must be a member of Bruins Nation to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bruins Nation. You should read them.

Join Bruins Nation

You must be a member of Bruins Nation to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Bruins Nation. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker