A Post-Succession Analysis of Factors Influencing Coaching Success in NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball

James E. Johnson – Ball State University
David A. Pierce – Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis
Brian Krohn – Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis
Lawrence W. Judge – Ball State University
Beau F. Scott – Ball State University


Based on the reciprocal determinism component of social learning theory, a total of 736 men’s NCAA Division I basketball coaching changes between 1999 and 2014 were examined to establish which factors were related to conference success following a coaching change. Results from an exploratory latent class analysis indicated that many demographic, environmental, and experiential variables assumed to be important in hiring a new coach are insignificant. However, a program’s previous success, individual coaching ability, and previous coach vacancy circumstance are all significantly related to conference winning differential after a coaching change. Results also indicated a regression to the mean occurs after most coaching changes except for the most elite programs. Pragmatically, however, findings show relatively small increments in winning or losing following a coaching change, suggesting that the impact of a coach is often overstated. Stakeholders can use this information to evaluate coaches, programs, and hiring practices in men’s Division I basketball.