Skip to main content

Zook, Bowden, and Donnan weigh in on the importance of staff continuity

Heading into the 2014 season, following one of the most impressive turnarounds in college football history, it looks like Gus Malzahn will be returning all nine of his assistants. That's huge.

Last year, defying conventional wisdom, Florida State was able to finish off their undefeated season with a national title after replacing six of their nine full time assistants. That's impressive.

As coaches, we all understand that continuity within the staff is important for any program looking to sustain their success. With that point in mind, Austin Penny over at Auburn Undercover reached out to Jim Donnan (former Georgia head coach), Tommy Bowden (former Clemson head coach), and Ron Zook (former Florida and Illinois head coach) to get some of their thoughts on the importance of keeping your staff together.

Each of the coaches had their own insight, but they all agreed that staff continuity was huge in both recruiting, and in maintaining a clear, consistent message with the team.

Here's a look at Penny's entire piece, and below I've grabbed a few quotes that adequately sum up the coaches thoughts.

Jim Donnan:

"In Auburn's case, you're involved in a situation where they had a complete turnaround from last year. These players will be able to stay in a routine and know what to expect from the respective coaches from the head coach on down. It carries over into recruiting where you build up relationships with high school coaches and they get to know you and know what you're all about."

'(Keeping the staff together) will have a tremendous carry over because of the belief that these players have in the system. If you believe in each other and the system, you can accomplish some of the goals that other people thought weren't even in the area code."

Tommy Bowden:

"Retaining you staff involves success -- you must be doing something right so you would like to keep it going until the next level. Recruiting is so important because the coaches are the ones that build those relationships, because the head coach can only go off campus once"

"You get more accomplished in the spring. You don't have to break in a new guy and the staff doesn't have to make sure the new guy is doing things right. You lose no coaches, you have 15 days in pads and now you get more done because everyone knows the drills and you don't waste time teaching somebody."

Ron Zook:

"Usually when the staff is able to stay together there is a lot less time that you have to spend on organization, because everyone knows the lay of the land and they know the direction of the program. The meetings are usually shorter. I think its good for the players because they will be hearing the same things. Football is a reaction game and the more you hear the same thing, the more you do the same thing, the better you are going to be at it and I believe the continuity of the coaching staff helps that."