As a part of calculating CoachRank numbers, I also looked at the coaches that left their position after the 2013 season to see if there were any patterns that emerged in regards to those coaches who departed. The results are below, but here are some of the more intriguing things from the data I noted:
28% of Coaches With a CoachRank Score Under 17.00 Are Not Returning For 2014. The Rate For All Coaches Was Around 12%
Keep in mind there’s a pretty big hole in the data with no coaches rated between 16.72 and 21.59 having left, but it still looks like the sweet spot may be 17.00 points. Whereas the overall turnover rate this season was at about 12%, once you examine everyone who finished the season with a CoachRank score of 17.00 or below, that number jumps up to 28%. Broadly speaking, that would put the “danger zone” as roughly the bottom 25% of coaches currently ranked in the system. Fifty-three coaches are currently ranked at 17.00 or below going into the 2014 season. Naturally, some coaches may rise above that mark, while others may fall below it after the coming season. If current trends hold up, fifteen or so coaches from that group may be gone after 2014.
Those Between 17.00-28.00 Shouldn’t Breathe Easier
The percentage of coaches departing in the 17.00-28.00 range is significantly lower than that of the under 17.00 range at roughly 9%, though that’s still a shade higher than the 6% of coaches who departed at above 28.00 CoachRank score. That’s only part of the story though, as only Katherine Remy Vettori from Loyola (MD) was sacked with a CR score above 28.00, as the others leaving their post within that range retired or left for another job.
In the 17.00-28.00 range, one coach (Theresa Romagnolo) left for a bigger job, while Elie Monteiro also left for another job from UMass-Lowell, as they transition to DI. Three coaches were sacked, and one coach resigned. Delving a little deeper into the data, what can we learn about the four coaches who left who didn’t leave for a bigger job?
Beth Acreman (Murray State – 21.59)
The total CoachRank score only tells part of the story. If you factor out the 2009 season, which MSU finished with a 66.67 Season Score with, Acreman’s last four seasons grade out to an average of 10.32, which probably does a much better job of explaining why she was given the boot after this season. There seemed to be a mini revival in 2011, but the club went back downhill the last two seasons and didn’t win a postseason game in Acreman’s final four seasons. Beyond the numbers? Giant waves of internationals and enormous roster churn. The former certainly isn’t a death sentence for coaches, but it may well be a factor in some of the latter. And given the team’s underperformance in the last four seasons, it may well have been the final straw here.
Jeff Leightman (San Jose State – 24.24)
It was a pretty drastic fall for San Jose State and Leightman, who won at least a share of a league title in 2009 and 2010 but which has declined precipitously since that 2010 triumph. There’s not really much nuanced about SJSU’s fall. They hit a high point in 2010 but have declined every season since then, culminating with last season’s desultory season.
Ali Khosroshahin (USC – 26.06)
2009 & 2010 Season Scores: 54.18, 57.21
2011-2013 Season Score Average: 6.30
Whether Khosroshahin was a victim of his own success after his shock title triumph in 2007 or that of a quick-triggered AD, what’s not debatable is the stunning drop after the 2010 season. USC took just about a third of the possible league points in the Pac-12 and missed out on three straight NCAA Tournaments after having made the Big Dance in Khosroshahin’s first four seasons. Likely not helping matters was USC’s continued appearance near the top of recruiting rankings every offseason. It was the grandest of ironies: Khosroshahin essentially paying the price for not getting the most out of top youth talent. Or what his predecessor Jim Millinder was essentially sacked for.
Steve Ballard (UTSA – 27.62)
Perhaps harsh by some measures but calculated by others. Considering Ballard took a program that had been the dreams of some and gotten it to the NCAA Tournament in 2010, you have to raise your eyebrow a little at how quickly the Roadrunners dispensed with him, especially considering how the club was still respectable in 2011. But the last two seasons, 5.61 and 7.78 in the Season Score department, perhaps showed that UTSA was going to struggle with a step up in competition from the Southland, with the club languishing near the bottom in both the WAC and C-USA. Ballard also, like Acreman, relied heavily on international recruits, transfers, and JUCO newcomers as his stint progressed, with lots of roster churn as well. That more than anything may have urged the club to pull the plug.
Randy Waldrum Was A Great Coach, But Not The Creme De La Creme
One of the reasons I decided to track the results of coaches who left after last season was to see where Houston Dash coach Randy Waldrum shook out after considering his last five seasons. The answer? Sixth. On the one hand, that seems pretty bearish on one of the few coaches with a national title in the past half-decade. On the other, the distance between Waldrum’s number and fourth place Marks Roeders at 73.57 isn’t that great. If you really wanted to, you could argue Waldrum deserves to be in that top four if you think his national title is being undervalued by the CoachRank system.
The case against? The lack of silverware in Waldrum’s last three seasons with the club. It’s a fine line at the very top, and another league title or conference tournament title or two would’ve likely vaulted Waldrum close to the top three. As it stands, Waldrum’s last half-decade in charge was an extremely impressive one, but one that falls just a bit short of the very top nonetheless.
Columbia Made The Best Hire of Those Poaching DI Head Coaches
If we were doing this from a non-data standpoint, I’d argue in favor of Keidane McAlpine, who moved to USC from Washington State, but with the data insufficient for such a short tenure, the clear winner from those who picked amongst DI head coaches is Columbia. Tracey Bartholomew’s stint at Long Island would have had her at #35 over the past half-decade, making her an incredible steal on paper for the Ivy League team. Finishing at above .500 the past five seasons in the NEC and with three pieces of silverware, Bartholomew’s been at the top of the class in a notorious fickle league. While this past season was LIU’s worst in a while on paper, considering Bartholomew got them back to the postseason after enormous losses in the offseason, it was still a very impressive accomplishment. More eyes will probably be focused on Ron Rainey’s appointment at Dartmouth, but the Lions may roar loudest in time.
Katherine Remy Vettori Got An Incredibly Raw Deal
Vettori’s average CoachRank score from 2009-2012? 51.47. That’d be a mark just outside the Top 25! Those four years included three major trophies and two NCAA Tournament appearances, never a given for a club competing in the rough and tumble MAAC. But the Greyhounds ended up having a terrible season in their debut Patriot League campaign, with Loyola (MD) only putting up a Season Score of 3.09 in 2013. Still though, Vettori’s lowest season score in the four years had been 25.93, a remarkable number for such a modest club. Her dismissal may have been an indication that they thought Vettori wasn’t the coach to lead them in a more difficult league, but given her track record, the lack of patience with the deposed coach to turn the ship around looks tremendously hasty.
The Hirings of Sonia Curvelo Was Underrated
Many likely scoffed at Cleveland State’s hiring of Sonia Curvelo to replace the underwhelming Derrek Falor at the head of the Vikings’ program. A closer look at Curvelo’s record with SWAC side Mississippi Valley State instead shows that the Vikings may have made a shrewd hire. If you looked solely at Curvelo’s numbers between 2009-2012, the former MVSU boss ranks in the Top 50 of ranked coaches! Four straight years of at least .500 finishes in the SWAC is an impressive feat in a volatile league, though the club would need until 2012 to finally win the SWAC Tournament, Curvelo’s second piece of silverware in four seasons. Some may have felt the window for a move may have closed after a 2013 that was MVSU’s worst in a long time, but if Curvelo can bring some of her earlier form to CSU, a moribund Vikings program may finally be a contender in the Horizon League.
Theresa Romagnolo and Ron Rainey Have It All to Prove
Call it A Dartmouth Story. Dartmouth’s recently departed coach and new boss may be two of the most scrutinized over the next few years amongst the newest hires. Randy Waldrum’s shock move to the NWSL’s Houston Dash ignited a dormant coaching rumor mill with all sorts of names being bandied about, before the Irish tabbed Romagnolo as their new boss. While Romagnolo is highly regarded in many circles, her tenure with the Big Green was middling in all honesty. After a washout of a first season, Romagnolo came within a whisker of taking Dartmouth to the NCAA Tournament in 2012 but saw an unexpected downturn last year when the club had been expected to contend for a league title. Her three-year total didn’t rank in the Top 100 for the time period studied, which may be a sizable worry for the Irish faithful. It remains to be seen what Romagnolo can do with top level talent, but there’s little room for error at a proud school like Notre Dame that expects to be in amongst the very best year in and year out.
Former Iowa boss and new Dartmouth coach Rainey likely faced a make or break season with the Hawkeyes in 2013 after a dismal 2012 that had followed a promising season before that. Rainey more than delivered, getting to the Big Ten Tournament final and sealing a spot in the NCAA Tournament for his Iowa side. It’s perhaps a bit odd that he chose to take what many might feel is a move backwards, going from a Big Ten school to a mid-table Ivy League program, but if there was ever a time to move for the longtime Iowa boss, it was probably after the program’s best season in ages. There won’t be as much pressure with the Big Green, but Rainey will need all his coaching nous to get the side to the NCAA Tournament after so many seasons treading water.
Stability Is Never A Given
Closing note: Six of the forty coaches who left after 2013 hadn’t been with their club for more than two seasons. Another, Tamura Crawley-Marigny left in the middle of the season at Texas Southern. The moral of the story? The bright new future envisioned at the beginning of every new tenure for every newly named boss isn’t always guaranteed to be a long lasting one.
CoachRank Numbers for Coaches Leaving After 2013
71.88 – Randy Waldrum (Notre Dame – Houston Dash [NWSL])
48.31 – Tracey Bartholomew (Long Island – Columbia)
41.79 – Katherine Remy Vettori (Loyola (MD) – sacked)
36.11 – Sonia Curvelo (Mississippi Valley State – Cleveland State)
32.61 – Tina Patterson (Incarnate Word – retired)
30.27 – Steve Nugent (UNC Greensboro – Washington State)
27.62 – Steve Ballard (UTSA – sacked)
27.43 – Elie Monteiro (UMass-Lowell – Southern New Hampshire)
26.19 – Theresa Romagnolo (Dartmouth – Notre Dame)
26.06 – Ali Khosroshahin (USC – sacked)
24.24 – Jeff Leightman (San Jose State – resigned)
21.59 – Beth Acreman (Murray State – sacked)
16.72 – Linda Hamilton (North Florida – ?)
14.79 – Ron Rainey (Iowa – Dartmouth)
14.46 – John Byford (Villanova – resigned)
14.46 – Chris Bentley (Troy – Colorado State assistant)
13.42 – Todd Clark (Campbell – ?)
13.13 – Margaret Saurin (IPFW – Oakland)
12.40 – Ness Selmani (Fordham – retired)
12.00 – Kevin Mounce (Gardner-Webb – ?)
11.46 – Pete Showler (Idaho – resigned)
9.82 – Derrek Falor (Cleveland State – resigned)
9.26 – Maryclaire Robinson (UC Davis – resigned)
8.84 – George Hageage (Eastern Washington – resigned)
7.01 – Jim McGirr (Providence – resigned)
6.67 – Kevin McCarthy (Columbia – resigned)
5.66 – Michael Thomas (Buffalo – sacked)
5.54 – Kazbek Tambi (Seton Hall – resigned)
5.28 – Blair Quinn (New Mexico State – resigned)
4.37 – Wendy Dillinger (Iowa State – sacked)
4.25 – Trevor Warren (Wisconsin-Green Bay – retired)
4.15 – Joe Pereira (Old Dominion – resigned)
3.95 – Daniel Brizard (Tennessee Tech – resigned)
NA – Michael Coll (UNLV – UNC Greensboro)
NA – Tamura Crawley-Marigny (Texas Southern – ?)
NA – Sam Lopes (New Hampshire – Providence)
NA – Keidane McAlpine (Washington State – USC)
NA – Dave Morgan (Oakland – Interim [not retained])
NA – Melissa Phillips (Cal State Bakersfield – resigned)
NA – Rick Stainton (Fairleigh Dickinson – Seton Hall)