Head coach

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A head coach, senior coach, or manager is a professional at training and developing athletes. They typically hold a more public profile and are paid more than other coaches. In some sports, the head coach is instead called the "manager", as in association football and professional baseball. In other sports such as Australian rules football, the head coach is generally termed a senior coach.

Coach (sport) person involved in directing, instructing and training sportspeople

In sports, a coach is a person involved in the direction, instruction and training of the operations of a sports team or of individual sportspeople. A coach may also be a teacher.

Manager (association football) Head coach of an association football team

In association football, a manager is an occupation of head coach in the United Kingdom responsible for running a football club or a national team. Outside the British Isles and across most of Europe, a title of head coach or coach is predominant.

Manager (baseball) someone who manages a baseball team

In baseball, the field manager is the equivalent of a head coach who is responsible for overseeing and making final decisions on all aspects of on-field team strategy, lineup selection, training and instruction. Managers are typically assisted by a staff of assistant coaches whose responsibilities are specialized. Field managers are typically not involved in off-field personnel decisions or long-term club planning, responsibilities that are instead held by a team's general manager.


Other coaches are usually subordinate to the head coach, often in offensive positions or defensive positions, and occasionally proceeding down into individualized position coaches.

In sports, offense (US) or offence (Can.), also known as attack, is the action of attacking or engaging an opposing team with the objective of scoring points or goals. The term may refer to the tactics involved in offense, or a sub-team whose primary responsibility is offense.

American football

Kevin Sumlin was the head coach of the Texas A&M Aggies football team. Kevin Sumlin, Head Football Coach, Texas A&M Univerity.jpg
Kevin Sumlin was the head coach of the Texas A&M Aggies football team.

Head coaches in American football have different responsibilities depending on what level of the sport they are coaching.

American football Team field sport

American football, referred to as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field with goalposts at each end. The offense, which is the team controlling the oval-shaped football, attempts to advance down the field by running with or passing the ball, while the defense, which is the team without control of the ball, aims to stop the offense's advance and aims to take control of the ball for themselves. The offense must advance at least ten yards in four downs, or plays, and otherwise they turn over the football to the defense; if the offense succeeds in advancing ten yards or more, they are given a new set of four downs. Points are primarily scored by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone for a touchdown or kicking the ball through the opponent's goalposts for a field goal. The team with the most points at the end of a game wins.

High school football

The head coach has a much more complete hold on the intricacies of the team. He may have to perform the duties of a defensive or offensive coordinator.

Often, high school head coaches have to do more work off the field than on. It is important that head coaches in high school hire a competent and proactive coaching staff because when the head coach is pulled away from practice then he must be confident that his team is in good hands with his other coaches and staff. One of the most difficult issues that head coaches must deal with off of the field is the parent, although many coaches do not allow parental interactions in many cases. He must be able to handle any issues that parents may have with the way that the head coach is running the program, all along while staying professional and not being demeaning. Furthermore, a high school's head football coach often serves as his school's Athletic Coordinator or Director, which adds even further responsibilities to his job. In some jurisdictions, a high school head coach must also have a paying job within the school, almost always as a teacher.[ citation needed ]

College football

One of the major features of head coaching in college football is the high turnover rate for jobs.[ citation needed ] With few exceptions (notable ones including Jimmye Laycock, Joe Paterno, Tom Osborne, Bill Snyder, Frank Beamer, Bo Schembechler, Woody Hayes, Bobby Bowden, Darrell Royal, and LaVell Edwards) college coaches often routinely change jobs, rarely staying at a school for more than a decade. Some coaches have been known to leave a school and then return to the program after a period of time.

College football collegiate rules version of American/Canadian football, played by student-athletes of American/Canadian colleges and universities

College football is American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities, colleges, and military academies, or Canadian football played by teams of student athletes fielded by Canadian universities. It was through college football play that American football rules first gained popularity in the United States.

Jimmye McFarland Laycock is a former American football coach. He served as the head football coach at the College of William & Mary from 1980 through 2018, retiring with the third-longest continuous head coaching tenure in NCAA Division I football history. He amassed an overall record of 249 wins, 194 losses, and two ties. Laycock graduated from William & Mary in 1970 and played quarterback under legendary coaches Marv Levy and Lou Holtz. Prior to taking over the Tribe head coaching position, Laycock coached at Newport News High School, Clemson University, The Citadel, and the University of Memphis.

Joe Paterno American college football coach

Joseph Vincent Paterno, sometimes referred to as JoePa, was an American college football player, athletic director, and coach. He was the head coach of the Penn State Nittany Lions from 1966 to 2011. With 409 victories, Paterno is the most victorious coach in NCAA FBS history. He recorded his 409th victory on October 29, 2011, then his career ended 11 days later with his dismissal from the team on November 9, 2011 as a result of the Penn State child sex abuse scandal. He died 74 days later, of complications from lung cancer.

Many head coaches at the college level have a paid staff and as such are more free to concentrate on the overall aspect of the team rather than dealing with the nuances of training regimens and such.

Unlike head coaches at other levels, college coaching staffs are solely responsible for the composition and development of players on the team. The ability to recruit and develop top players plays a major role in success at this level.

A college coach acts as the face of a team, at an age when many young players do not wish to be hounded by media. They are often called upon to discuss off-the-field incidents such as rule infractions or player antics. Sometimes, the coach becomes a celebrity in his own right, e.g., Lou Holtz.

At the end of the year there are numerous college football coach of the year awards given out. Usually the awards all go to the same coach but there are some discrepancies. Major annual coaching honors include the Home Depot Coach of the Year, The Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award, the Associated Press College Football Coach of the Year Award, and The Paul 'Bear' Bryant Award.

National Football League

Bill Belichick, head coach of the New England Patriots Bill Belichick 8-28-09 Patriots-vs-Redskins.jpg
Bill Belichick, head coach of the New England Patriots

At the professional level, coaches may work for millions of dollars a year. Since he or she does not have to travel the country recruiting high school players, the head coach at the pro level has much more time to devote to tactics and playbooks, which are coordinated with staff paid even more than at the college level. They typically report to the General Manager. Head coaching, due to the lack of job security and long hours, is a very stressful job. Since the money is good at high levels and firings are common, many coaches retire in their early fifties.[ citation needed ]

Many factors are part of National Football League (NFL) coaches' contracts. These involve the NFL's $11 billion as the highest revenue sport, topping the Major League Baseball's (MLB) $7 billion. The NFL's coaches are the highest-paid professional coaches [1] with professional football topping the list in Forbes' highest-paid sports coaches. Bill Belichick is in the number one spot for the second year in a row [2] with no MLB or National Hockey League coaches making the list.

Another major element of NFL coaches' contracts, negotiated between individual coaches and NFL "teams"/owners, are NFL demanded provisions in the coaches employment contracts, that authorize the employing NFL teams to withhold part of a coach's salary when league operations are suspended, such as lockouts or television contract negotiations. [3]


The average salary for a head coach in the National Football League is $6.45 million a year. [4]

Association football

Jurgen Klopp, manager of Liverpool F.C. Jurgen Klopp.jpg
Jürgen Klopp, manager of Liverpool F.C.

In association football, a head coach has the same responsibilities as in any other sport. A head coach has an option to pick his own coaching staff.[ citation needed ]

In some countries there is a position of senior coach who acts as the first assistant of the head coach or runs a junior squad in the club. In the absence of a head coach, a senior coach temporarily fulfills his role as interim (see Caretaker manager).[ citation needed ]

There is the UEFA Convention on the Mutual Recognition of Coaching Qualifications that has three levels: Pro, A, and B. [5]

Australian rules football

Alastair Clarkson, head coach of the Hawthorn Football Club Alastair Clarkson 2017.jpg
Alastair Clarkson, head coach of the Hawthorn Football Club

In Australian rules football the head coach or senior coach is responsible for development and implementing an appropriate training program to the players so that they ensure they perform on game day. The senior coach in AFL also has to be responsible for the rotations and team line up for the games. A senior coach in AFL is not the only coach involved in making the team operate, in AFL teams there are up to five different coaches that all have different responsibilities, for example, there is a forward, midfield and defence coach, these coaches focus on the particular positions on the ground, and they work with the particular players who play in these positions.

Rugby union

Rugby football union clubs have the option of either a director of rugby (DoR), a head coach, or both. There is as yet no consensus on what either role entails, as the responsibilities vary between clubs. Generally, if a club decides on employing one of either a DoR or a head coach, they will take more responsibility than if the club employs for both roles. It has been proposed that the DoR is a club-wide position, providing and ensuring the club is working towards a shared philosophy from youth teams through to senior teams. [6] [7] Whereas, a head coach is focused purely on planning and implementing coaching for the first team; alongside a coaching team consisting of a mixture of defence, attack, forwards, backs, skills and strength and conditioning coaches. [8]

See also

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  5. Full membership of UEFA coaching convention. UEFA website. 18 December 2008.
  6. "Munster name Johan Erasmus as new director of rugby". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2017-05-25.
  7. "CLUB ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES" (PDF). Irish Rugby. n.d. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
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