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How to Get Your Dream Coaching Job: 6 Important Questions to Ask in an Interview

The beating of your heart sounds like a 21-gun salute. The droplets of sweat rolling down your back keeps reminding you not to doodle on the freshly printed resume sitting in your lap. Most of the coaches I have worked with would choose walking on hot coals as an alternative to interviewing any day of the week. The pressure and stress of interviewing for a new coaching position is one of those things every coach eventually must face. And, no one enjoys.

In my positions as a coaching consultant and college professor, I am often working with younger coaches who are hoping to someday soon have their own program. Knowing that the job interview is the first hoop that must be jump through, I am frequently asked about the questioning process and what they should expect. My advice is simple; the coach who gives the best answers usually doesn’t get the job, the coach who asks the best questions usually does.

Most administrators agree, the questions and scenarios they ask prospective coaching candidates are usually so predictable and generic that the responses are often the same—safe, routine, and expected. Sure, a coach can blow it by trying to be cute or too vague with their answers, but that portion of the interview typically doesn’t reveal the “right” person for the job. What usually separates the candidates is the sense of confidence and control they show during the interview process. One great way to show the poise, self-awareness, and experience all athletic departments are looking for in a head coach is not to give the “right” answer (multiple applicants will accomplish that), it is to ask the interviewer the “right” questions. Listed below are 5 questions I think every coach should ask during their initial interview. You may have to tweak them a bit to fit your particular situation.

  • What is your school most proud of both athletically and outside athletics?
  • If you could change anything about the school or athletic department, what would it be?
  • Why is the last coach no longer coaching?
  • What kind of processes are in place to help me collaborate with other coaches and faculty?
  • What is the most important thing I could accomplish in the next 90 days?
  • How will you judge my success?

Besides helping to demonstrate a sense of confidence in your own abilities and highlight your coaching strengths, these types of questions will help set the tone for a very successful partnership between you and the athletic department. Like it or not, politics is a part of the coaching process. Carl Pierson explains in his book The Politics of Coaching, to survive the game of politics requires everyone plays their cards, by explaining their beliefs and philosophical positions. Asking relevant, engaging, and even tough questions will show that you are ready to play the game, and play to win.


  1. I really enjoyed this article. I think that the six questions the author came up with are very good questions to ask. They not only give the athletic director or the person hiring the coach a better idea of who the coach is but it gives the coach an opportunity to find out more about the school and program, and determine if it is a place that he or she would actually want to associate with and coach for based on the schools values and morals.

    1. Thank you Conrad for the kind words. Glad you got something from the article. If I can be of any help in the future please don't hesitate to contact me.

  2. I enjoyed reading this article! I feel like tone is strong and it has a strong focus on what someone needs to do in order to be the coach they want! The question that a coach needs to ask themselves also helps a lot because it gives them an idea on if they are doing something right.


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