Are Coaches Better in Their Second Year?
So as a Georgia Tech fan and alumnus, and being that our new coach Paul Johnson is entering his second year at Tech, I wanted to do an analysis of how coaches fair in year two versus year one.
Now since I can’t do this for every coach out there I chose to specifically look at the “best” coaches. I understand the word best is subjective so I quickly put together a list of fifteen very good college football coaches in no particular order based on polls I found on line.
Also because this analysis uses the best coaches it is not in any means an accurate reflection of the overall coaching population however it may reflect a trend among those elite coaches.
The following is the list of the fifteen coaches used (again, in no particular order):
The data used was taken from each coach’s current team or most current team from where he coached at least two years.
The results were very telling:
First, Let’s Look at the Win Column:
None of the above coaches lost more games in year two than in year one. None.
The smallest increase in wins was zero by Les Miles at LSU (2005, 2006). The largest increase in wins was seven, by Jim Tressel at Ohio State (2001, 2002).
The average increase in wins from year one to year two was 3.8.
In terms of percentage increase the average increase in the win column from year one to year two was 71 percent. That’s nearly double the wins.
So all of the coaches had an increase in wins in their second year of between 0 and 7 and of those 67 percent* of them achieved an increase in wins of between 1 and 6.
So how about losses?
Only one coach out of the above fifteen had one more loss in his second year than in his first, Jim Grobe at Wake Forest (1987, 1988). All other coaches either broke even or had fewer losses. The largest decrease in losses was five, by Jim Tressel at Ohio State (2001, 2002).
The average percentage decrease in losses from year one to two was 48% or about half the losses.
So all of the coaches had a decrease in losses in their second year between -1 and 5 and of those 67 percent* achieved a decrease in losses of between 0 and 4.
*Assuming a normal distribution and rounding
So if you want to make predictions about how a team will do under a coach in his second year, and assuming (a big assumption, mind you) that the coach in question is of elite status, one can predict that he will at least break even or do better than his record in year one.
With that being said I predict the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets win at least nine games in 2009, with a high probability that they win more than nine.
However, people love to debate the hell out of such predictions no matter what any statistics say.
Case in point: statistics correctly predicted the outcome of last years Presidential election well before the election took place, based on simple but very telling historical data going back nearly sixty years; however, the media debated the hell out of it every hour of every day leading up to the election and both sides had people completely convinced that there guy would win.
I digress. Go Jackets!