Coaches on the Hot Seat
As we hit the college and pro midseasons, its time to start writing articles about coaches on the hot seat. Here's one. The relevant part (to me, as an Illinois fan) Lovie's Santa Claus beard is cool; his results at Illinois are not. When young athletic director and Illinois alum Josh Whitman hired Smith to run a program that hasn't enjoyed a winning season since 2011, the "wow" factor was high. The former NFL coach gave the Illini national credibility — in name alone. The results in three-plus seasons (11-30, four Big Ten wins) have not. Like any big-name coach, the buyout is kind of an issue with Smith, but it's Whitman's willingness to admit his choice was wrong that's really being tested. Coaching changes are an area of an area of interest. I've done some research on the consequences of coaching changes and have found that on average they don't work out. So why do fans want to see coaching changes? I think it's about hope. As an Illinois fan i have little objective reason to have faith in the future. But the hiring and firing of coaches can at least provide short-term hope. As far as I can tell (from looking at the data) the key to building a program is investment. The teams that spend big tend to win big. And while we can argue about the direction of causality, I'd be a lot more enthusiastic if my team started spending like the big boys rather than simply hiring the next up and coming MAC coach or some past NFL coach.