Georgia High School Football Daily Spotlight: Repeating success tough for coaches in first year at new schools

Do you want to know which teams will be down in 2009? If you’re playing the odds, you’ll look for a winning team with a new head coach.

In 2008, there were 17 coaches who inherited programs that had won eight or more games the previous season. None of the 17 won more games than his predecessor. Only two – Coffee’s Ken Eldridge and Harrison’s David Hines – matched the win total of their predecessors.

The other 15 won fewer games, and it most cases, it wasn’t close. New coaches of teams with eight or more victories in 2007 won nearly four victories fewer on average in 2008.

Here are the 15:

Bainbridge (9-4 to 6-4 under Ed Pilcher)
Cedar Shoals (9-2 to 7-5 under Xarvia Smith)
Chamblee (12-2 to 6-5 under Michael Collins)
Coffee (9-3 to 9-4 under Ken Eldridge)
Dalton (9-2 to 7-3 under Adam Winegraden)
Dodge County (9-3 to 2-8 under Lee Campbell)
Douglass (8-4 to 3-7 under Kenny Barrow)
East Coweta (10-2 to 7-4 under Clint Wade)
Fellowship Christian (10-2 to 7-4 under Terry Luck)
GAC (9-4 to 4-7 under Ken Robinson)
Harrison (9-3 to 9-3 under David Hines)
Macon County (8-4 to 5-6 under Matthew Lester)
Pacelli (9-2 to 4-6 under Bryan Eason)
Roswell (10-3 to 5-5 under Leo Barker)
Swainsboro (8-3 to 5-5 under Scott Roberts)
Thomas County Central (13-1 to 8-3 under Bill Shaver)
Ware County (12-2 to 6-6 under John Stephens)

Why did none of the 17 coaches win more games than his predecessor?

There are several proven coaches on that list, so we’re not calling anyone out. In fact, two on the list – Campbell and Pilcher – have won multiple state championships.

The lesson is that that doing better than a successful coach in the first season is more difficult than most imagine, as 0-for-17 speaks for itself.

Here are five reasons the GHSF Daily staff thinks a new coach at a winning program might do worse initially than his predecessor:

Statistics 101: Most teams that win eight or more games will win fewer the next season. It’s simply regression to the mean.

Leaving the cupboard bare: Coaches are more likely to leave winning programs when they believe they are facing a down season.

Replacement cost: A team that wins eight or more games probably has a good coach. A good coach is hard to replace.

Experience: Winning teams typically replace head coaches with assistants. Even when they hire from the outside, they are getting a less experienced coach most of the time.

New system: A new coach often means a new style of offense or defense and a new routine to practice and games. It often takes a season for players to adjust.

So what does that mean for 2009? Only eight teams that won eight or more games in 2008 hired new coaches.

Be patient with these guys and know that they’re trying to beat the odds:

Dunwoody (12-1) hired Michael Youngblood
Jefferson (11-1) hired T. McFerrin
Jonesboro (8-5) hired Timothy Floyd
Mount Zion of Jonesboro (8-5) hired Jamie Aull
Newnan (13-1) hired Mike McDonald
Sequoyah (10-2) hired James Teter
Walton (9-2) hired Rocky Hidalgo
Westside of Macon (12-1) hired Sheddrick Risper

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8 comments Add your comment

CollegeLevelAthletes.com

September 2nd, 2009
2:31 pm

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live in lowndes, in love with east paulding

September 2nd, 2009
2:38 pm

i don’t know about the statistics, but East Paulding had not won a game in 5 years until they hired Coach John Reid. He took them to the semi-finals in the GA Dome the first year here and they haven’t won less than 11 games in the 3 years he’s been there.

SouthGARules

September 2nd, 2009
9:56 pm

It is evident that Ware County was not patient with John Stephens. He only lasted 1 year. Reminds me of Valdosta in the early 70s. Charles Greene had the misfortune to succeed Wright Bazemore. Despite a 17-3 record over the 1972 & 1973 seasons, he was run out of town because he did not win the region. Moultrie won region & went to the finals with Ray Goff as QB. The next year, Thomasville, led by William Andrews, won the first of their back to back state titles. Greene’s replacement: Nick Hyder. Despite a 3-7 record in his first year & not winning a state title until his fifth year, Valdosta stuck with Hyder & it turned out real well for him & VHS. Could John Stephens be Ware County’s version of Charles Greene? It remains to be seen.

AstroFan

September 3rd, 2009
12:55 am

Still bothers me that Douglass hired a coach from a school they beat the year before. Everybody I asked said they would not do that. Especially when they had a homegrown coach on their staff, but he later went to rival Washington. Shame Shame Shame

JUNE

September 3rd, 2009
6:06 am

ASTOFAN,
THAT’S WHY I LIKE HIM AT DOUGLASS AND NOT DOWN SOUTH!

HeadEast

September 3rd, 2009
10:26 am

East was actually 3-7 the year before Reid, but they did lose 30 in a row in the late 90’s. Last year we lost to Grayson by the same score Lowndes did, but Reid wasn’t shaking in terror on the sidelines while his undisciplined players were starting a fight! The good old boys don’t like him because he moved here from Tennessee, but you can’t argue with the results. Playoffs every year, even after moving up to 5-AAAAA and having the smallest school in the region. Haven’t made it to the championship yet but they’ve gone 6-3 in the playoffs.

Realistic_EPFan

September 3rd, 2009
3:58 pm

for “live in lowndes, in love with east paulding”

“i don’t know about the statistics, but East Paulding had not won a game in 5 years until they hired Coach John Reid. He took them to the semi-finals in the GA Dome the first year here and they haven’t won less than 11 games in the 3 years he’s been there.”

As a side note: The article was about new coaches taking over sucessful programs with 8+ wins, not about new coaches taking over programs that we at or near the bottom. That would be another good article to write also though Second note: EP hasn’t won at least 11 games each of the past seasons, 2006(12-2), 2007(12-1), 2008(9-3)…but you were close.

Reid’s teams have always been extremely well discplined. The only exception is probably Reid himself…..and I don’t find fault with him sticking up for his players every so often and getting a penalty. HeadEast is right about Reid being from Tennessee and the good old boys not being particular fond of him. The refs (and I know a couple), really are sower to his demeanor and attitude (I prefer to call it intense). The Raiders are quickly becoming a team that win or lose, no one really wants to play because of the intensity that the staff imparts in the team comes though during the game in terms of hard hitting. (i.e, prime example is Harrison last year,,,,they won the game, but they were a shell of themselves after that and lost what was it 3 games after that down the stretch….7 injuries from from hard (yet clean) hits that night to Harrison players plus 2 to EP players). The refs also seem to be mindful of EP and Coach Reid………..evidenced by the extremely poorly officiated game in Rome last week. Unbelievable is all I’ll say.

HoyaFan

September 6th, 2009
11:36 am

“(i.e, prime example is Harrison last year,,,,they won the game, but they were a shell of themselves after that and lost what was it 3 games after that down the stretch….7 injuries from from hard (yet clean) hits that night to Harrison players plus 2 to EP players).”

At least two major injuries were from Harrison players either falling in an unusual position or another Harrison player falling into another. Another was Godhigh knocking the crap out of an East Paulding player, in fact he was unconscious for a while.

I know because other Harrison fans were claiming East Paulding was cheating and trying to injure our players. I reviewed the Comcast on demand recording and each were just freak accidents. But it did take out a major player for the rest of the season, and Godhigh was not at his best the rest of his season.