Why Fire Your Coach? Because New Coaches Win the Most

By Goose · Nov 21, 2019 · Updated Nov 22, 2019
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  1. Goose
    Thinking about the high turnover in NHL head coaches (leading all professional sports leagues), I did a bit of a back-of-the-napkin math on NHL head coaches and their tenure with a given team who made the Stanley cup Finals over the past 30 years, and here's the breakdown:

    Note that this represents how many years the coach has been with that specific team, not overall experience. So Pat Burns, for example, made the SCF in his 1st year coaching the Canadiens (lost) and won the SCF his 1st year with the Devils.

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    I don't have easy raw data on average NHL tenure per calendar year to compare against the mean, but it's pretty amazing how many first year coaches with a team have made the SCF and how few long tenured coaches have won. The breakdown for winning and making the SCF as a first year coach are the same, by the way, (12/12).

    I'm a believer in the whole "shaking up the culture" argument, especially looking at STL last year, and the data seems to back it up. The only problem is, I don't have raw data on average coaching tenure to compare deviation, and that's too much work, but I thought I'd see what people think. Do the numbers look like this simply because there is a lot of turnover in the NHL, or is there a lot of turnover because it works?

    For comparison, only 3 NFL head coaches have won a Super Bowl in their first year of coaching a team over the past 30 years, compared with the NHL's 12. I think it's 7 for MLB, then 4 for the NBA.

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