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Defining Roles for the College Basketball Associate Head Coach

College basketball is one of the most popular sports in the world. Head coaches at the Division I level receive excellent compensation, as do many of their staff members. The composition of the coaching staff is a confusing subject for the average fan. This article will clarify the role of the head coach, assistant associate head coach, and support staff.

During most college basketball games on television, a fan notices a large collection of outfits. These suits represent members of the coaching staff of each respective school. Five, seven or ten staff members may be present on the bench during the games. Who are all these people?

The average college staff included the head coach and his assistant coaches. The number of attendees depends on the size and level of the program. A smaller school may have one, two, or possibly three assistant coaches. Mid-level colleges, such as Division II and Division I below, may have three to five assistant coaches. At the highest level in Division I, the coaching support staff can number seven or eight. Assistant coaches make up only a portion of the entire staff. Managers, trainers, graduate assistants, and statisticians can also be part of the bank’s makeup.

A recent development at the college level is the associate head coach. This is a confusing situation, and I must explain how it works.

Degrees generally don’t mean much to the coaching staff of universities. Basically, you are an assistant or a manager.

The first assistant title is of little value since all assistants work the same or harder, in the case of graduate assistants at times.

The associate head coach was created to help assistants land head coach positions in two ways.

1. The title distinguishes them from the rest of the staff externally or with images. It gives a coach with the title a bit more leverage if the head coach goes ahead, they can look at the associate head coach first before leaving. Another factor is that it can be a way to get more money for this assistant, separating him again from the others. This title can also harm staff chemistry. Egos are hurt and pride kicks in.

2. The associate head coach can help if an assistant seeks a head coach position at another school. An Athletic Director may look at an associate head coach with more interest than “just an assistant.”

Remember that each staff member has a different approach to using the associate head coach title. There may be a plan behind this or just a showcase. Many programs and many head coaches have different approaches to staff development. I hope this article helps you understand why so many suits adorn every college pew this winter.

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