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Requirements to Be a College Football Coach

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College football is one of the most popular sports in America. Every Saturday, fans from across the country gather in front of their televisions to support their Alma mater or favorite team. Behind each and every team is a coaching staff. This coaching staff is responsible for the success of a team on and off the field. With the popularity of football, college coaching positions are much sought-after jobs.


All football coaches — regardless of position — need to have an understanding of the game of football. Coaches need to understand on-field coaching, conditioning, drills, conducting try-outs and scrimmages. Coaches also need to be aware of the traditions and objectives of a football organizations before beginning coaching. Coaches must also understand the administrative guidelines of coaching football. Coaches need to be willing to scout, travel, evaluate players, manage equipment and understand the medical side of football including injuries and risks.


In order to become a college football coach, a bachelor's degree is required. This is especially true for individuals wishing to obtain a head coaching position. The bachelor's should be in a sports or health-related field. Many colleges prefer a master's degree. However, master's degrees are rare amongst college football coaches. In large programs, a head coach is simply a coach. In smaller schools, a coach may be required to be a teacher. This may require teaching certification or a graduate degree in a subject taught at the particular college or university.

Past Experience

An impressive resume is a must when seeking a college football coaching position. Many coaches are former college or even professional football players. Coaches that are former players understand the game and know what players expect from their coaches in order to have a successful season. For others, work in the football field may start at an entry-level position or below. Coaches may have started out as ball boys, water boys, worked with equipment or interns. This shows a dedication to the sport of football. Other college coaches may have started their coaching career with a youth or college team. A majority of head college coaches started out as an offensive, defensive or special teams coordinator. These coordinators oversee a portion of the football team and are able to handle the responsibilities that becoming a head coach entails. When head coaching positions are available, many coordinators and assistants interview for the position.


Coaches need to be level-headed and able to remain calm in stressful situations. Making decisions during a close or important game be very stressful. These decisions also come with scrutiny from the media. Coaches must be able to handle the media. They must be able to handle public opinion. Many people may not like coaches — especially head coaches. Head coaches must be able to make decisions based on what is best for their team. A decision should never be made based on public opinion. Coaches must have excellent communication skills. They need to be able to coach and mentor a team of players. Additionally, coaches need to be able to communicate practice and game instructions clearly.


Michelle Zehr started writing professionally in 2009. She has written on health, fitness, fashion, interior design, home decorating,sports and finance for several websites. Zehr possesses a Bachelor of Arts in communication from the University of Pittsburgh, a Master of Arts in professional writing from Chatham University and a graduate certificate in health promotion from California University of Pennsylvania.

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