Post-Succession Coaching Performance in NCAA Division I Baseball: Expanding the Theoretical Perspective

Justin D. Studler – Ball State University
James E. Johnson – Ball State University
Andrew D. Eberline – Illinois State University
Lawrence W. Judge – Ball State University

For more than half a century, leadership succession was explained using one of three foundational theories that predicted change would harm (vicious circle theory), improve (common sense theory), or have little impact (ritual scapegoat theory) on organizational outcomes. These theories successfully describe the aftermath of a change. As an extension to these foundational theories, reciprocal determinism was utilized to explain the antecedents leading to performance outcomes. A total of 119 coaching changes in men’s NCAA Division I baseball from 2005 to 2014 were examined to determine conference success up to four years post-succession. There were 23 independent variables examined relative to the new coach, institution, and coaching change situation. Exploratory latent class analysis and multilevel analysis revealed the majority of variables to be insignificant, except the coach’s prior coaching experience and ability. While there was an average increase of .64 wins following a coaching change, there are limited practical benefits.