Sadly, it’s that time of year. Firing season. It seems like more and more coaches are getting asked to move on a lot quicker than they did in yesteryear. From the NFL all the way down to high school football, it’s becoming more and more “What have you done for me lately?” I know a coach here in Southern California who was let go after 10 years at the same school, with just ONE losing season! Amazing.
Let’s talk about five things to do after being fired.
Negotiate a resignation first
Number one: You want to try to negotiate this disaster into a resignation if you can. So if you know you’re going to get fired, if your admin says, “Hey, let’s come in for a meeting” and they say “We’re going in a different direction,” the first thing to try to do is to negotiate that. Ask them flat out, right then and there, “Can I resign from this position? I understand you’re going in a different direction. Please allow me to resign.”
This will help you in many different ways down the road if you resign as opposed to being fired.
Obviously, if you’ve broken the law, or if you’ve broken some sort of policies that calls for your firing, that’s a whole different story. They might not allow you to resign, but if you can, it’s always a good thing to resign. You probably don’t agree with what’s going on, but step back and think about answering this question on a future job application: Have you ever been fired from a position?
Also, think about the headline in the paper: “Coach Smith Fired at Garfield High School.” Humble yourself, ask if you can resign.
Talk to your team
After you have met with the administration, the first thing you’re going to want to do is notify your staff. Then, you need to meet with your team. You want to do this before word leaks out to the media or anybody else that you’re not going to be returning. In this day and age, news travels FAST! I’ve been tracking every Head Football Coach job change in Southern California for 5 seasons now. I’ve actually had administrators contact me to leak that their coach is on the way out. (Which I refused to do by the way.)
It’s important to have a team meeting as soon as you can. Set this team meeting, time, location and message with your admin after they tell you about wanting to go in a different direction. Explain to them that you’d like to talk with the team about this decision. Go over that plan with them so that you guys are all on the same page as to how this is going to be addressed with the team. You kind of owe that to those kids. Hopefully the administration will allow you and give you time to talk to them. Be grateful to your players. Remember, most of the time, they didn’t ask for this. They are kids. Don’t take anything out on them in this goodbye meeting.
Get your resume already!
For some guys, they haven’t had to worry about the resume for quite some time. (Just today 11/17/19, I heard from a coach who said that they haven’t updated their resume in 17 years!)
That resume has been sitting in a file somewhere because they’ve been at their job for ten years, or maybe five years. Find that resume, update all of the pertinent information, get it ready to send out. Get your references up to date too, don’t forget that part of your resume. If you need to hire someone to put together a dynamite resume, check out what coaches nationwide have said about my resume writing service.
You want to start letting people know that you’re now looking for a new position. Open up your cell phone, or your email and start reaching out to guys you would love the opportunity to coach for. That is if you’re going to look for an Assistant position, which many guys do after getting fired.
But it’s okay to jump right back into being a Head Coach if you feel like that will best suit you. Hit the job boards. Check out the Southern CA Head Football Carousel if you’re interested in a So Cal job. Don’t accept anything quickly, but start to get your name out there. Start networking with other coaches so that they can get the word out, and perhaps something can open up for you rather quickly.
Stay positive around your current position
It doesn’t make any sense to become a Debbie Downer on the campus where you’re at, period. It especially doesn’t make sense to do this around your football players, the kids who probably had absolutely no say in this. They’ve just lost a coach, remember that.
You want to start to transition out of being their coach, which is a difficult thing to do. But you do want to stay upbeat and positive about this change that’s happening for everybody. One reason is so that you don’t burn any bridges for good recommendations as you leave. Another reason is so that you don’t become a very bitter person every day you have to go to that job. Your reputation in the long run is more important than being a bitter person at your job.
Chris Fore has his Masters degree in Athletic Administration, is a Certified Athletic Administrator and served as an Adjunct Professor in the M.S. Physical Education – Sports Management program at Azusa Pacific University for three years. He serves as the President of the California Coaches Association. Fore also runs Eight Laces Consulting which specializes in helping coaches nationwide in their job search process. Fore has been named to the Hudl Top 100 Coaches, and the Top 5 Best High School Football Coaches to follow on Twitter by MaxPreps. Follow him!