Turning around a football program – 1st day on the job

Posted On Mar 6 2016 by

changeTurning around a football program – 1st day on the job

Your taking over a football program and its your first day on the job, tasks are many but what should be your first three things on your agenda?


  1. Meet with your players
  2. Meet with existing Coaching Staff
  3. Meet with the Administration.

Meet with your players:

Introduce yourself, let them know your background, let them know why you took this job and tell them your vision. Then ask questions: What did you like the best about the old program? The Least? What are your goals as a team? Gather as much information as you can about the past history of the program, how your new players view the program, the schedule and the image of the school. Tell them a little about your plan of action and what will be taking place in the next few weeks. Don’t go to deep into what you want to accomplish, you need to gather a lot more information before laying your steps to success.

Meet with existing Coaching Staff:

Meet with the existing coaching staff, let them know a little about how you operate your program. Gauge their interest level in returning, but make no promises until you have talked to the entire staff, players and administration. Explain to them you will be meeting in the next three days with each of them individually to discuss the program and how they may fit into the new staff. When meeting with them individually find about their philosophy on offense and defense, about building a program, why they coach. Your success your first year with a new program will greatly be affected by who you hire as a staff, proceed slowly gather as much information as possible and if your gut feels good about someone hire them, otherwise look at hiring someone new.  Your going to be pulled in so many different directions your first year, you need to have people on your staff that you can trust, that require little supervision, and will proceed with your vision no questions asked. Because that first year having time for the coaching staff and the x’s & o’s may be the hardest part of the transition.

Meet with the Administration: 

Your first meeting with the administration should be geared toward finding out the process and procedures of operating the program, every school has different requirements and procedures. Your first question should be: What would you like to see change with the football program? The answer should be your goal for that first season. You need to find out the process of hiring new coaches, who the administration may think is a good fit to stay on the staff. How is the program funded? What are the fundraising procedures? What is the chain of command and communication procedures? What parents are the biggest supporters of the program? Which are not?


Once you gather as much information as you can you need to layout a checklist of everything that needs to be accomplish and follow that checklist until its complete. Your fourth step should be meeting with the parents and explaining your program and your vision. Try not to make many promises or statements that your not 100% positive you can make happen that first year.

The greatest piece of information I can give you is to MOVE SLOWLY and be sure to gather as much information as you can before making decisions about the future of the program. There is so much that needs to be done; decided on and most new coaches want to make a huge impact on that first day and usually move very quickly and do things that come back to bite them. MOVE SLOWLY – HIRE SLOWLY- Everything you say and do is being evaluated by the existing coaches, administration, players, faculty, parents and the community, choose your words wisely. You need everyone to share your vision so you can be successful in turning around the program. 

Your going to make some mistakes, take responsibility for them, learn from them, correct them and MOVE FORWARD. Never lose sight of your vision, believe in yourself, trust yourself. Remember not everyone will buy in the first year!

Last Updated on: March 6th, 2016 at 10:53 am, by Coach P - Jim Pusateri

Written by Coach P - Jim Pusateri

Coach P - Jim Pusateri is a Teacher & Head Football Coach along with the Offensive Coordinator at University High School, Orlando Florida. After coaching at various levels, College, High School and Middle School; Jim feels you make your biggest impact on the High School Athlete, He States: “it is at this level that you truly can change the course of a students life.”

2 responses to “Turning around a football program – 1st day on the job
  1. This article nails the do’s and dont’s I was way too quick to hire coaches when I became a new head coach. I found out how coaches that are not loyal and lazy take a long time to get rid of and the damage they do along the way takes time to repair

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