I chose to call this article – How to sack a footy coach. But I could of easily go with – My letter to Eddie McGuire.
Whether it’s in the AFL or even the NRL, coaches getting sacked are a common thing. Rodney Eade just lost his role on the Gold Coast yesterday, may he rest in peace.
Don’t let the numbers fool you though. Just because a lot of coaches get fired doesn’t mean that it’s an easy decision to make. But Eddie my friend rest assured, I’m not a Collingwood supporter but I’m happy to help you go through the process by listing the four questions you should ask yourself before pulling the trigger… or not.
1. Is there a replacement lined up?
If not, don’t do it. I’m not talking about an interim solution or giving the reigns to an assistant that the club president feels comfortable micro managing.
I’m talking about a real replacement. Someone you truly believe can lead your club for the next five to ten years. If you don’t have such an option ready to go, status quo must prevail.
Getting rid of an established head coach without a viable replacement plan is a very co$tly exercise. It will also be a PR nightmare and most likely set the team’s performance on the field back by about five years.
2. Is your club having strategic issues or cultural issues?
If your club is having strategic issues, than the coach is most likely at fault. But if culture is the problem, the coach is not always the problem and/or the solution.
Every club has a few bad apples when it comes to attitude and team spirit. If these bad apples are part of the leadership group or worst – management, then you have a big problem.
Getting rid of the bad apples or, in the case of players, simply demoting them from the leadership group can go a long way. It solidifies the coach’s leadership, sends a clear message of what’s acceptable and what’s not, and it gives the opportunity to good people to rise to the occasion.
3. How attached are the players to the current coach?
A “players’ coach” getting sacked will make a lot of players unhappy. So if you want to fire a coach beloved by his players, you must do it early in the off season.
This allows the new coach to build a solid relationship with the playing group before the start of the next season. Just try to remember how long it took you to accept your mum’s new boyfriend…
4. Will the media attention hurt or help your club?
When a footy club sacks the coach, a media storm usually follows. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Some teams will use it as motivation to lift their game, while others will simply crumble under the extra pressure.
The key is to identify which type of playing group you have and make the most of it. If your squad embraces the media attention the right way, then make it all about them right here right now. Fire the coach and then let them know that from now on, no more excuses.
How to sack a footy coach?
I don’t think there’s a perfect way or time to sack a footy coach. However, going through these four questions before doing so will turn the odds in your favour.
But just like at the casino, even with the odds in your favour, luck will remain the biggest factor in the outcome of your decision.
My final advice to you Eddie, this time please think twice before you lock it in.
by Ed Toussaint – contributor