The purpose of the study was to gain an in-depth understanding of the characteristics head coaches looked for when hiring their head assistant coach, the main roles and responsibilities assigned to assistants, and the techniques and behaviors used to develop them. Data were obtained through interviews with six accomplished Canadian University head football coaches. Results indicated head coaches hired loyal assistants who possessed extensive football knowledge that complimented their own skill sets. Once hired, head coaches had their assistant coaches help them with recruiting, managing a major team unit, and developing athletes. They helped advance their assistants’ careers through personal mentorships which included exposure to external sources of knowledge such as football camps and coaching conferences. These results represent one of the first empirical accounts of head coaches’ perceptions on hiring and developing head assistant coaches.
Rathwell is with the School of Human Kinetics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Bloom is with the Dept. of Kinesiology & Physical Education, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Loughead is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario, Canada.