The coaching carousel has been in full swing as of late. Kevin McHale is looking for work (ESPN.com). The Sacramento Kings have put George Karl on the hot seat (ESPN.com). David Blatt was let go despite leading the Cavs to 30-11 record to start the season (sbnation.com). In the NFL, Lovie Smith is out in Tampa Bay after only two seasons with the Buccaneers (profootballtalk.nbcsports.com). Situations like these bring up an intriguing question: should coaches be allowed the time to build their team even if they aren’t initially successful? There are several examples of coaches who have taken time to develop their teams. Bill Cowher was not immediately successful as head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, and people thought the Rooney family might be searching for a new head man. Instead, they chose to give him time. Cowher led them to two Super Bowls with a victory in 2006 (pro-football-reference.com). A current comparison can be drawn with Brad Stevens, the head coach of the Boston Celtics. The Celtics endured 57 losses in the first season under Stevens, but he led them to 40 wins and a playoff appearance last season (basketball-reference.com). Additional examples of the benefits of patience and perseverance include Tom Coughlin with the New York Giants and David Cutcliffe with the resurgent Duke football program. So, why is it that we so often see coaches getting fired early on in their tenures? I believe it is due to an increase in these “lightening in a bottle” coaches who seem to have immediate success. Coaches like Jim Harbaugh, Nick Saban, and Urban Meyer, who seem to be able to make their teams immediately relevant, have helped to usher in a change in the philosophy of sports management. Gone are the days of Bill Cowher and Tom Coughlin, where teams were willing to start off losing if they believed they had the right person for the job. Teams want to win now; they are unwilling to wait.
As Christians, we can struggle with the same desire for immediate success and gratification. We can find encouragement during those times from Galatians 6:9, which states: “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up”.
What are your thoughts? Be sure to let me know!