|Is more necessarily better?
If a head football coach has a dozen or more assistant coaches, does that automatically translate to winning state titles?
It’s kind of like educators arguing for a lower pupil-teacher ratio. More individual attention is available for students when these ratios are smaller.
Coaches also subscribe to this theory, especially in football.
I think some coaches would have 15-20 assistants on their staff if they could find a way to make it work.
It’s a far cry from when I was in high school and most football staffs consisted of a head coach and two assistants – one for offense and one for defense.
Chances are one of those assistants was also the head basketball coach and the other was the head baseball coach.
The number of cheerleaders was also quite smaller.
I sometimes wonder if there’s a competition going on today between these two groups over which one has the most members. But that’s another column.
If you take a look at TSSAA’s website, you can get a pretty detailed look at the size of coaching staffs across the state.
Keep in mind, however, that there are plenty of schools across the state that don’t do a very good job of reporting requested information to the state’s governing body for sports.
The reported numbers make for some interesting reading.
Generally speaking, the larger the school the larger the coaching staff will be.
That makes plenty of sense to me. Division 6A schools average nearly nine assistant coaches for football while the average for 1A schools is about half that number.
But schools with the largest coaching staffs in their respective classifications are rarely the schools that consistently win state championships.
Three 6A schools (Blackman, Dobyns Bennett and Oakland) report have 14 assistant coaches on their football staff.
Maryville, a school with 13 state titles to its credit (including nine in the last 12 years), has 10 assistants.
In 3A, staffs average five and a half assistants.
Five schools (Alcoa, CPA, Elizabethton, Fairview and Lewis County) report having nine. Alcoa is the only one with a state championship in this classification. CPA’s came at 1A.
Smith County reported having eight assistants. Nine schools, including Cannon County, listed three or fewer.
1A averages the fewest number of coaches – just more than four assistants per school. Greenback and Perry County lead the pack with eight. Gordonsville and Lake County each reported seven.
Large coaching staffs do not necessarily bring home golden trophies.
It certainly can help the cause.
But more than a dozen schools across the state with 10 or more assistant coaches have never won a football title.
As is the case in almost all comparisons, it’s the quality of coaching, not the quantity, that makes a difference in the end.
Murphy Fair has published Tennessee High School Football for 25 years. His syndicated radio show (Murphy’s Matchups) can be heard Monday evenings at 8 o’clock on WGNS, AM-1450 & FM 100.5.