As we drift into week three of the College Football Season we have had our first major coach firing. Missouri head coach Barry Odom has fired Defensive Coordinator DeMontie Cross after their team gave up 74 points over two games. This seems like a way for Odom, a defensive coach by trade, to take over that side of the ball and hopefully get things right. Unlike a lot of coaches around the country Odom is not on the hot seat but he still decided to part ways with a member of his staff this early in the year.
Other coaches are already on the hot seat and with coaches in waiting like Chip Kelly it won’t be long before a team decides to part ways with their head coach and start the recruitment. I wonder every year when the first coach will lose his job as it seems to be earlier and earlier every year but how soon is too soon? Last year it was Ron Turner out at FIU before October and then came the game for the coaches job between Auburn and LSU. Obviously Les Miles fell victim in that game after his team came up half a second short and then it continued throughout the year.
This isn’t only a question for College Football but all major sports. Crystal Palace just sacked their manager Frank de Boer only four games into the Premier League season. In the NFL teams seem to hold on until late in the season but if a team has their eye on a college coach then they tend to move on in early December. NBA and NHL teams have shown that they are more willing to part ways sooner and sooner as is the trend everywhere.
These coaches across the board are making crazy money and you can see why a team would want to part ways if it isn’t working out but why can’t they wait till the season is over. I think these coaches develop a relationship with the players and making a change mid season tends to hurt things more than it helps. Clearly that wasn’t the case for MLS side Seattle Sounders last year, after they fired their only manager the franchise had ever employed Sigi Schmid in the middle of the year the team rallied and won the MLS Cup. That isn’t the only time in recent history it has worked out that way either. The 2015-2016 Cleveland Cavaliers made an interesting change in the middle of the year and went on to win the NBA Finals.
So to answer our original question, Never! It’s never too early to make a change and try to get out ahead of the problem. As much as I may disagree with firing a coach in the middle of a season there is definitely a great argument for doing it. In the end these coaches know that their job can be lost at any moment and that’s what makes sports that much more intriguing. So I look at guys like Kevin Sumlin and Gus Malzahn or Chuck Pagano and Marvin Lewis and I say good luck and hopefully you can start producing on the field. Because in the end that’s the only thing that will save your job.