“When is the right time to fire a coach when the season is over?”   This is a question that I get a lot of the time.

Listen, it’s never fun to fire a coach.  Never.  Especially when it involves his salary, and the family.  But sometimes, it just has to be done.

I tell guys that the right time to fire a coach is immediately.  I’ve only really “fired” one coach as the Head Football Coach.  I’ve let a few go.  I think those two are different.  From my experience, when you “let someone go,” the writing is on the wall, and the other party is usually almost relieved that they have been let go.

It’s just one of those things where things didn’t work out.  To avoid having to fire guys, and or letting guys go, spend your time hiring SLOWLY.  Many Head Coaches hire too fast, and then get in to a bind with their hire.


I had to fire a Defensive Coordinator one time, for a variety of reasons starting with the fact that I inherited him from the previous staff, got hired very late (June), and realized soon that he had NO clue what he was doing, just way in over his head.  Was not all his fault, he should have never been hired in the first place as a DC.  I brought him in at 700 am the day after our last game.  I knew week 5 that I was going to fire him after the season. Might as well get it done as soon as possible.

Some coaches are afraid of firing a coach before the banquet.  I don’t understand that.  That year, the banquet wasn’t scheduled until middle of January.  I fired him right after our playoff game, the middle of November.  Not doing that means two months of him thinking he is going to be the DC, maybe even planning, etc.  And it means two months of our defense getting worse!  So, fire that coach RIGHT AWAY!

One more thing about firing a coach: remember that it is not a job interview!  I picked this idea up from the Vice President of a very large worldwide business who was a coach with me at Linfield Christian.  He is one of those big wigs who flies to Europe just to fire someone in person.  Or flies to New York to golf with a manager.  One of those types!

I asked him for advice on how to fire someone when I had to do that the first time as a Head Football Coach.  He said “Well, if you absolutely know you are going to fire him, if you have already weighed everything out in your mind, on paper, etc. there is nothing to discuss in the meeting.  Chris, most bosses do a poor job of firing because they allow it to turn in to a job interview.  They allow the employee to try to talk them out of it, or they ask questions of the employee trying to lead them to what the decision will be.”

He went on to explain to me that the meeting should be less than 3 minutes long.  “Don’t be a jerk about it, but there isn’t any reason to talk long about it.”  He told me that if they want to honestly get a review of their performance that you will do that at a later date.  This gives the person some time to cool off, and gather themselves.  “They won’t listen to you in that meeting, they will be too emotional.’