What does it take to be a head coach? Knowledge in your respective sport? The ability to make decisions on the fly? Making tough decisions? All these and many more I assume. What does it take to be the head coach of a P5 football/basketball team? All of those inquiries above plus constant media/fan pressure, recruiting almost 24/7, the NCAA breathing down your neck at all times plus a myriad of other problems that arise at a moment's notice.
These days to see a head coach of some major program in either sport last longer than five years is almost a miracle. Sure there are some exceptions (Boeheim, Kzysezyzrwzyzski, D'antoni, Stoops...myass) but for the most part it seems to be a never ending changing of the guard. Heck, looking at Nebraska as an example we've had three different head coaches in shootyhoops and four in football since the turn of the century. Is it the pressure that gets to these coaches? Not enough fan support? Too much (overbearing) fan support? No wonder that they need those huge houses to block out all those distractions and sleep on top of a pile of money with many beautiful ladies.
But let's take a step off the main road for a bit and look at the non-revenue side of things for the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Here, unless there is a possible scandal most don't make any news at all (unless they win a national championship). Speaking of championships something that BidRedTwice mentioned in her article yesterday (check it out! yay Husker volleyball!)...
"Cook is lucky, because in a non-revenue sport, it's ok for a coach to have this personality, rather than be forced to kowtow to pressure to be Jim Harbaugh or Coach Hype Franklin."
She has a point in that non-revenue coaches get to be outside the mayhem and get to do what they enjoy most...coach. And thinking about it further when you look at the non-revenue coaches at Nebraska you start to notice a pattern. Most of them have been there for-ev-er. Check this out:
John Cook (volleyball) - 16 years (2000)
Mark Manning (wrestling) - 16 years (2000)
Bill Straub (women's bowling) - 20 years (1996)
John Walker (women's soccer) - 22 years (1994)
Dan Kendig (women's gymnastics) - 23 years (1993)
Rhonda Revelle (softball) - 23 years (1993)
Gary Pepin (men's/women's track & field) -
the dawn of time 35 years (1983 men) (1981 women)
Why are these folks hanging around so long? Well, for one thing they are all good to great at their jobs with the majority of them either winning a national title, coach of the year, conference title or some various combination of those. But what keeps them here?
Is it the facilities?
Is it the fan support?
To be fair though Husker fans will show up to any event that showcases the Scarlet & Cream be it football across the country, shattering volleyball/baseball attendance records, or traveling all the way to New Jersey to watch Nebraska take home another bowling title.
There may not be a definitive answer to why these coaches have hung around so long as it could be a combination of all three aspects. However as a Husker supporter it is great to see that longevity and experience wearing the iron N on the sidelines and hopefully for many years to come.