Is Winning the Only Thing That Matters?

An Analysis of Team Sport Head Coach Tenure in the NCAA Power Five and Group of Five Conferences


  • James Johnson Ball State University
  • Davis Matz
  • Anya Householder
  • James Jones


Coach Tenure, Intercollegiate Athletics, Coach Succession


Intercollegiate coaching is often a transient occupation with short tenure. Embedded within the structure of higher education, college head coaches must meet a variety of athletic and academic expectations to retain their positions. Studies on coaching succession have targeted the causes and results of coaching changes, but few investigated the length of tenure or the variables most likely to predict it. The current study investigated coaching tenures (N = 414) for head coaches in seven team sports within the Group of Five and Power Five NCAA conferences between 2010 and 2020. Eleven performance, demographic, and academic variables were examined. Results of Pearson correlations and ordinary least squares multiple regression indicated winning variables were significant, but also revealed the non-significance of assumed academic and descriptive variables often touted within intercollegiate athletics. Findings also unveiled “revenue” and men’s sports have shorter coaching tenures that end negatively and are based more on winning than Olympic and female sports.


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