With two weeks still remaining on the college football schedule, there have been 12 head coach firings at the FBS level and more are expected to come. But what has spurred on this rapid recycling of coaches? Mississippi State coach Mike Leach believes he has the answer.
During the SEC coaches’ teleconference on Wednesday, Leach, who himself was fired by Texas Tech following the 2009 season, blamed it on trends and mental illness.
“Because people are nuts,” Leach said, via Football Scoop. “First of all, I think things go in trends. General societal mental illness, I think, and I think the other thing that contributes to it, and the same thing has happened with (athletics directors), it’s almost like there’s been a bounty on A.D.s. Then as a result there’s been one on coaches, too.
“I think that, to me, it seems like when people were all stuck at home with COVID (in 2020), they had all this nervous energy, and you saw a bunch of A.D.s and coaches fired that hadn’t coached a game for that season. [Like people said] ‘Well, we’re not doing anything so let’s fire somebody.'”
Leach also believes too many decisions are made in haste. We live in an instant gratification era and that has found its way into the football ranks.
“I don’t think it’s productive,” Leach said. “If you’re a farmer, and you go out and say, ‘I wanna grow corn,’ and it grows six inches, and you say, ‘Well, it didn’t grow fast enough’ so yank up it out of the ground ground … There’s coach after coach in the NFL Hall of Fame that back in the day if they were held to that standard (of immediately winning), they wouldn’t be there.”
In terms of the rapid firings, Leach has a point. Consistency is essential in every aspect of life, but especially within a football program — college, professional or otherwise.
There’s also the issue of communication and the growing lack of interpersonal skills due to technology, Leach says. With everything done digitally, the human element has been lost.
“I think the addiction to machines is part of it. Then instead of people, one communicating with one another, two, making their decisions based on kind of independent thought, I think a lot of times machines and social media do the thinking for people, and I don’t think that’s very healthy,” Leach added.
Leach blaming the firings on mental illness may be hyperbolic, but there is some truth to the perceived demand for instant success. There’s also a level of truth to the degradation of communication. Both have seemingly factored into the coaching carousel at multiple levels of the sport.