Hiring coaches a team effort

Butler is no different from any type of organization when it comes to hiring new employees.

The only difference is when the school has to hire new coaches.

The school has many spots to fill, ranging from president to adjunct faculty to janitorial staff. Also included are the coaching positions on Butler’s 19 athletic teams.

“A sport without a leader is not very good,” Athletic Director Barry Collier said. “This results in the search for a head coach being completed at a more rapid pace than other hirings at Butler.”

The process for hiring a coach begins with the vacancy itself.

Interested applicants submit their name to the school. The school will then do extensive background checks on each candidate  and  review their credentials to verify the candidates are capable of properly mentoring and teaching a group of collegiate athletes.

After that stage, the process really picks up.

Photo by Maria Porter

For higher profile sports such as basketball and football, a school will typically have a few preferences for possible hires before the vacancy becomes official.

“For some of the smaller sports like [tennis], athletic directors don’t know who they want until the interview pool comes in,” tennis coach Jason Suscha said.

Once the candidate pool swells to an acceptable level, the school begins the interview process, both over the phone and in person.

For second-year softball coach Scott Hall, this step could not arrive soon enough.

Photo by Steven Peek

“I was excited to get into the interview process,” Hall said. “It couldn’t get over fast enough for me.”

Along with interviews, there are multiple ways a school will attempt to lure coaches to its programs.

Collier said that academics, facilities, other staff members, the current team members, available scholarships and operating budget all come into play during the hiring process.

“None of these factors is more important than the others,” Collier said.

With these variables in mind, the athletics department then attempts to find the best candidate to fill the position—for both the student-athletes and the sport.

“There were certain standards, like the Butler Way, that they made sure I understood and was capable of upholding,” Hall said.

The task of finding a new coach is not a one-person job, however.

Collier said there is always a committee, usually ranging from three to six people, that is actively involved at some step in the hiring process.

In addition to the athletic director, a member from the human resources department participates, as do other coaches.

Even though Hall is just entering his second year coaching the Butler softball team, he participated on the committee to hire a new soccer coach last fall.

The final say in the hiring process always rests with the university president. Once the president approves the hire, a formal request will be sent to the candidate.

Photo courtesy of Butler Athletics

Butler’s 12 current head coaches have accepted that request, and there will certainly be more acceptances in the future.

“Butler either sends a formal request or [the request] is sent to the NCAA website, which happens  through Butler’s Human Resources Department,” Suscha said.

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