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Wednesday, December 22, 2010
No Country For Old Football Coaches?

Are older college football coaches being fired, or not hired, in part because of age? This is a topic that Stewart Mandel writes about in an column. Here is an excerpt:
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Over the past week, new athletic directors at West Virginia and Maryland forced out incumbent coaches who, by most reasonable standards, had been relatively successful. Mountaineers coach Bill Stewart, 58, has won nine games in each of his first three seasons. Terrapins coach Ralph Friedgen, 63, has taken his team to seven bowl games in 10 years and was named the ACC's Coach of the Year this season.

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In that respect, Maryland and West Virginia are merely following the national trend in coaching hires: Youth and energy trump age and experience. Pittsburgh recently replaced 58-year-old Dave Wannstedt, an NFL and college head coach for 17 seasons, with 46-year-old Michael Haywood, a head coach for two seasons at Miami (Ohio). Colorado axed Dan Hawkins, 50, who's been a head coach for 15 seasons, and hired Redskins tight ends coach Jon Embree, 45, a CU alum who'd never previously served as even an offensive coordinator.

New Florida coach Will Muschamp is a 39-year-old first time head coach. Indiana (Kevin Wilson) and Vanderbilt (Franklin) went with first-time head coaches, too. Franklin, 38, is 18 years younger than Robbie Caldwell, the man he replaced. In fact, all eight BCS-conference hires to date are younger than the coaches they're replacing.

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To add to Stewart's discussion, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act protects people 40 and up from discrimination due to age. I would be interesting in knowing 1) if coaches' termination settlements (fired coaches usually get about half of their remaining salary) include release of age discrimination claims in exchange for payment; 2) whether there is any empirical support for a finding of age discrimination; and 3) whether the EEOC has looked into this subject. Might not be a bad topic for a student looking for a law review/journal note topic.


With the word out that JoePa will be retiring after the Outback Bowl, the question becomes in part whether older coaches have more trouble recruiting top talent for fear that they won't be at the school in three or four years. That would be a worry more for Friedgen than Hawkins, of course, but the choice of a new AD also leads to loyalty questions.

No one is surprised when a 58-year-old senior executive "leaves to pursue other opportunities" when a new CEO is brought in from outside of the country. Why would they be surprised if a football coach makes the same (voluntary, of course, and well-compensated) decision.

Blogger Ken Houghton -- 12/22/2010 2:24 PM  

ADEA and Sports Law:

Yes, self-promotion, but on the topic indeed!

Anonymous Anonymous -- 12/22/2010 3:48 PM  

This should not be the thing. Old football coaches might have more experience then the young ones.

Anonymous nhl pools -- 12/23/2010 7:48 AM  

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