BigO Tyres

Why do football teams have so many coaches? The soccer team has just as many players.  R.J., Kentfield   It does seem like there...

Why do football teams have so many coaches? The soccer team has just as many players.

 R.J., Kentfield


It does seem like there are a lot of broad-necked men decked out in full Nike apparel on the sidelines of every high school game, but there are reasons that go above and beyond mere money — though of course that’s big part of it.

To get the financial aspect out of the way, football generates more income than any other sport, and winning football teams generate more income than losing ones — so investing in the coaching staff can deliver a solid return on investment. That assumes, of course, that the coaches are worth investing in, but in general, the more coaches any team in any sport has, the better off the players are, and the better the win-loss record will be.

But a lot of those manly men screaming out incomprehensible strings of words on the sidelines are volunteers, because football is the great American sport, and people love to be involved. Getting volunteers to commit the time and energy to the soccer team is much harder, especially given the huge number of club teams and programs that require soccer coaches. In football, there’s only Pop Warner and other youth football, and the only high school-age game in town is, well, high school.

More important, football is a complicated game, both in terms of conception and execution. The head coach and coordinators can do more strategically to win games than can, say, basketball coaches, who must rely much more on talent. Schemes, scouting and specific plays can have a much bigger impact on the outcome of a football game than in other sports.

At the same time, though, the techniques required for the various positions in football are varied and complex. Soccer players, for example, pretty much all do the same thing — but a defensive back must have a completely different skill set than a defensive tackle, and those skills need to be taught.

Even baseball, with its distinct positional demands, has more common ground from player to player than football, both technically and strategically.

Of course, no matter what the sport, the more coaching the better (assuming the coaches are organized enough not to contradict each other). Look at De La Salle basketball, where Frank Allocco seems to bring out a suit-clad coach for every player on his varsity come postseason — and his success speaks for itself.

All in all, though, football is king, and in more than the size of coaching staffs. It’s a difficult, complicated, brutal, challenging and yes, cerebral game. And to be played as safely as possible, it requires more instruction than any other sport.

And the fact that it makes more money than any other sport doesn’t hurt when it comes to the coaching payroll either. 

Clay Kallam is an assistant athletic director and girls varsity basketball coach at Bentley High in Lafayette. To submit a question for Behind the Clipboard, email Coach Kallam at

SportStars Magazine best in prep sports


SportStars Magazine: High School Sports Articles Online SportStars is your go-to source for the very best high school sports articles in California. Player and team profiles, game coverage, health and fitness tips and the largest Camps, Clinics & Combine resource for athletes. We're the story behind the stats.

No comments so far.

Be first to leave comment below.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *