College Coach Job Description


College coaches have a significant amount of control over the team they coach. They not only coach the team but are also responsible for finding players to make up that team. The amount of time coaches spend with college student athletes puts them in the position to influence those young people on a daily basis. College coaches carry a high profile and, therefore, have a duty to carry themselves professionally as they represent the college that employs them.


  • College coaches must find and recruit players who will ultimately determine how successful they are as coaches. They review tapes and study reports on hundreds of players, looking for details about the ability and character of potential recruits. Once the coach identifies the players he feels will be a good fit for the program, he must contact those players by phone, email and in person to sell the school and its athletic department. The recruiting process turns the college coaching profession into a year-round job that extends far beyond the season of the sport he coaches.

Running Practices

  • Coaches must be able to plan and run practice sessions that provide instruction both in individual skills and game strategy and tactics. Determining the areas in need of development for each player and the team as a whole and then creating drills to turn those weaknesses into strengths is a primary coaching responsibility. The coach must know the game and be able to teach it in individual and group sessions.

Game Strategy

  • The most visible part of the coach's job takes place on game day. Prior to taking the field for a game, the coach spends hours learning about her opponent's strengths and weaknesses and devising a plan for attacking them. During the game, the coach must make adjustments to keep the team on track as situations arise. She must have a thorough understanding of the game, the talents of each player and the ability to process information quickly.


  • The most important duty of a college coach may be the responsibility to safeguard the health and safety of the young athletes under his supervision. Teams need healthy players to enjoy the thrill of victory, but coaches also owe it to the parents who have entrusted them to teach their kids to take good care of those athletes. Coaches are typically trained in first aid and CPR and must use strategies that keep players healthy and strong.


  • The coach is responsible to set an example for her players and stand as a positive representative of the school. The coach is one of a college athlete's primary role models, and her actions will influence the way the players treat each other, the opposing team, the game officials and even the coach herself. A coach must make good decisions with her time on and off the floor as every choice will reflect on the entire school and its athletic department.

Education and Experience

  • Entry-level college coaches work as assistants and must have at least a bachelor's degree. In order to proceed up the ladder, most universities look for candidates with a master's degree. Playing experience in the sport at the college level or above is highly desirable. In order to become a head coach at the college level, experience as an assistant is usually required, though some smaller schools will hire from the ranks of high school head coaches. The career path that leads to a coaching position at a major university includes serving as a college assistant for a number of years, and most high-profile schools are looking for coaches with prior head coaching experience at a smaller college as a minimum qualification.


  • The typical salary for most college head coaches runs from $40,000 per year to about $100,000 per year. That salary range applies to most college sports such as volleyball, soccer, track and field, softball, baseball and the other sports that generate less revenue for a university. The major revenue-producing sports--football and basketball--come with higher coaching pay scales. According to salary surveys published by "USA Today," the 100 highest paid college football head coaches as of 2010 all earn more than $500,000 per year. The highest paid coaches in college football and basketball make from $2 million to $5 million per year.

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