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How Much Does a Coaching Change Hurt Recruiting

Thursday, April 24, 2014 3:44pm
  • Bobby Petrino has had to catch up quickly on the recruiting trail (AP)
     Bobby Petrino has had to catch up quickly on the recruiting trail (AP)

Louisville and Wake Forest changed football coaches following the season. A November move clearly has an impact on the recruiting season that ends two and a half months later, on February's signing day. 

Looking at the last three ACC coaching changes (Syracuse, NC State and Boston College following 2012) we see an immediate dropoff in recruiting won-loss record when the recruiting season is interrupted by a change at the top. 

Head to head recruiting vs. ACC

W/L Pct Year before change

W/L Pct. Year of change

Difference

NC State

0.354

0.308

Down 46 pts

Syracuse

0.371

0.405

Up 34

Boston Coll

0.436

0.020

Down 416

OVERALL

0.387

0.242

Down 145

Syracuse actually improved following the coaching change, although the Orange also switched conferences, which likely impacted the effect of the change. 

Boston College's numbers are not typos. The Eagles went 1 and 49 against the ACC in 2013 recruiting, as new coach Steve Addazio seemingly threw offers at every high schooler on the East Coast. 

Here are the numbers for Wake and Louisville post-changes. 

Head to head recruiting vs. ACC

W/L Pct Year before change

W/L Pct. Year of change

Difference

Wake Forest

0.294

0.387

Up 93

Louisville

0.356

0.288

Down 68

OVERALL (last 5 changes)

0.363

0.284

Down 79

Like Syracuse, Wake saw an improvement despite the abbreviated recruiting window. 

What's in store for Wake and Louisville going forward? Dave Clawson and Bobby Petrino have the proverbial "full year" to recruit rising high-school seniors, although, obviously, they missed on some relationship-building in the players' junior years. 

The early start to 2015 is not promising. Louisville is 0-for-12 against ACC schools in verbal commitments so far this year, and Wake is 0-for-8. 

Clawson is clearly a closer, as his improvement over Jim Grobe in limited time in 2014 shows, and Petrino's experience in the SEC should help him as signing day approaches. So, are the early starts a sign that the impact of a coaching change is felt farther down the line than was believed? 

Based on the previous year's changes, Wake and Louisville fans can breathe  a sigh of relief. 

 

W/L Pct Year before change

W/L Pct. Year of change

W/L Pct. Year after change

NC State

0.354

0.308

0.564

Syracuse

0.371

0.405

0.328

Boston Coll

0.436

0.020

0.298

OVERALL

0.387

0.242

0.432

Mainly on the strength of Dave Doeren's strong recruiting haul, we see that the first full year of recruiting, on average, results in an improvement in win-loss percentage from pre-coaching-change levels.

 

 

A coaching change following the season interrupts recruiting, with less than three months to go until signing day. But how much does it hurt a team's success and how long is the impact felt?