The benefits of coaching continuity:
The Aztecs have been incredibly lucky the past few years in terms of coaching staff. The last few decades really, but let’s focus on the last couple of years.
Coach Chris Acker came from Boise St two years ago. It was a huge get because it took a good coach from a conference opponent, and it helped secure Che Evans for the Aztecs. We’ve yet to see how Evans pays off, but he’s finally healthy, and even if he doesn’t pay off, Acker has done a great job. The Aztecs are 53-7 with coach Acker on staff.
When he joined the staff I was hoping the Aztecs could get two seasons out of him. He seemed like a really hot head coaching candidate. It’s been two years, and it doesn’t look like he’s going anywhere this off-season. It’s even more impressive considering how other programs will often come calling for assistant coaches of successful programs. 53-7 is successful. It would be ridiculous to think no one has called coach Acker to see if there’s interest. He seems to be staying for a third year though, which is huge in terms of continuity.
Coach Dave Velasquez is in a really similar situation. He’s been with the Aztecs for longer, but he’s an assistant for a very successful team over the last few years. He’s been the guy that runs the defense, a defense that finished 10th and 21st in the nation the last two years according to KenPom. He also has to be a pretty hot head coaching candidate. He seems to be staying for at least one more year though.
Then there’s other coaches like coach Morris and Coach Pollock who aren’t head coaching candidates, but are probably candidates for positions higher up the ladder at other programs. Neither of them seem to be going anywhere.
Lastly, coach Dutcher could’ve left for Minnesota this past offseason. He said they called him, and that he wanted to take some time to decompress before thinking about any decisions like that. They wanted to move faster so nothing came of it, but something could’ve.
The coaching staff is like a team in its own right. Figuring out what each individuals skills are, putting them in the right roles, developing their skills, it’s all an active process. It’s one that’s much easier when everyone is familiar with each other.
Plus, as much as fans don’t like it, when a player commits to a school the vast majority of the time they aren’t committing to a school. They’re committing to a coaching staff, and often times one coach specifically. So if a coach leaves there’s a good chance that players will leave as well. We saw this when coach Hutson left. He took another coach (Tim Shelton) and Jordan Campbell, who was committed to playing for SDSU but pulled his commitment when coach Hutson left.
So there are both tangible and intangible benefits to keeping coaching continuity. I’m sure I missed a few, but I just wanted to make sure I take a second and recognize how lucky the Aztecs have been in that regard the last couple of seasons.