The character, quality and personality of a program's head coach can oftentimes be a make-or-break factor when it comes to recruiting.
Like it or not, they are the face of the football program and oftentimes the face of the school.
A team's personality, a fan base's expectations and a school's reputation all derive from the head coach, so that makes him a very important factor in the decision making of a college recruit.
Here are five traits recruits should look for in a head coach that would point to him leading a quality program.
This may seem like an obvious trait, but not every head coach is a good X's and O's guy. It's my opinion that in order to lead a successful program, though, you have to know your playbook inside and out.
Some head coaches are better motivators or are great at delegating. There's a huge benefit to being able to trust in your staff while focusing on rallying your team together, but when it boils down to it, it's the head coach that's in charge of making the big decisions when the game is on the line.
Which play should we use to pick up this third down? Where is the defense weak, and what have we been setting them up for? Defensively, how have they been trying to attack us, and what tendencies are they displaying? What are their keys? How do I adjust to give my team the advantage?
A great head coach has to be able to analyze the game on the fly and make the right decision, which in the end comes down to him having an impeccable knowledge of the X's and O's of, not only his scheme, but of football in general.
All that said about a head coach being "the guy" making the calls when it matters, it would be foolish to not recognize the role a coaching staff plays in a head coach's success.
Not only do the coordinators play a huge role in in-game decisions and play calls, but position coaches, scouts and even trainers are all extremely important to the overall success of a program.
This won't come out in games as much as it does at practice or in the locker rooms. How does a coach treat his staff? Does he give them time to address the team?
Does he ask them for their opinions, advice or suggestions?
You can tell a lot about a head coach and his program by watching the interaction between him and his coaching staff. Respect is a key trait here.
Wise coaches understand how important their staff is.
A small percentage of college football players actually make it to the NFL. The rest will have to lean on their education to find jobs and build their lives just like the rest of us.
A good head coach realizes that football is just a game and that his players are at the University for much more than just a win-loss record.
Not only that, but academics are often times a key selling point with recruits, so a smart coach will realize that respecting the student part of student-athlete will only benefit his program.
This also shows that a coach cares about his players for more reasons other than they made a big play in the game. It shows that a coach cares about his players as people, as students and then as football players.
Nobody wants to play for a coach that they can't relate to or hold a conversation with.
Much of coaching college football is about to being able to connect with your players so that you can motivate them. There has to be a level of trust and respect, but it also comes down to the players caring about what you have to say.
Having a good personality and the ability to talk with players is a must.
Now this doesn't mean a coach has to be nice, and it certainly doesn't mean that they have to be a pushover or take it easy.
It comes down to being personable. Great coaches know how to connect with players so that when it comes down to game time, their players will follow their leadership.
Setting goals and expectations is key to having success, and good football coaches know how to set the bar for their team and then hold them to that standard.
Whether it be with grades, discipline or play on the field, a good coach can see the potential that individual players, and his team as a whole, possess, and he doesn't relent until they meet and exceed that potential.
Accountability about expectations between a coach and his players is a huge factor in whether or not a team is a unit. When everyone is on the same page, it's much easier to succeed. It also helps keep players out of trouble, as they know what lines they just can't cross.
Being clear about those expectations is also very important. You can't be expected to meet a goal if you weren't told what it is, so a coach that can clearly communicate with his team regarding what he wants to see from them and what they need to accomplish is huge.
This is also a huge motivating factor when it comes to working in the offseason or at practice.
When expectations are high, great coaches will not settle for anything less, and they will prepare their team to meet the challenge.