For college student-athletes enduring multiple head coaching changes during their careers, challenges include changes in the level of competition, lifestyle pressures, identity issues, loss of support system, and changes in training environment. Student-athletes are required to build relationships with a new head coach while facing issues with loneliness, frustration, discouragement, self-doubt, and feelings of decreased self-worth. This unique case study examined the transitions of junior student-athletes at the University of Tennessee who played for three different head coaches. Themes that were constructed from challenges the student-athletes faced were: Trust, Individual and Team Strength, and Future. A tremendous amount of effort and resources is poured into coaching searches but there seems to be little for the student-athletes during transitional periods of coaching changes. These findings demonstrate that transition is not something that easily happens and may not happen at all, which leads to student-athletes transferring after any coaching change. Resources and counseling services should be made available to assist student-athletes in this transition and not make the coach the focus of the transition.
Pate, Joshua R.; Stokowski, Sarah. E.; and Hardin, Robin
"Third Time’s a Charm: The Case of Tennessee’s Four Junior Football Players who Endured Three Different Head Coaches in Three Seasons,"
Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics: Vol. 4, Article 19.
Available at: https://scholarcommons.sc.edu/jiia/vol4/iss1/19