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Case Study: Finding The Next Great Head Coach

By Jason Belzer, Brad Bates

Three different fictional NCAA Division I institutions – Spruce University, Desert Valley College, Bluewater A&M University – are searching for a new men’s basketball head coach.  Each school has completed a needs assessment describing their unique local context.  The case study compels participants to work in groups and engage in issues of human resources, organizational behavior, candidate assessment and teamwork.  It also examines the cultural, psychological, and social aspects of a high-profile coach search process.


The search committee at each school is comprised of five members: Director of Athletics, Deputy AD/Senior Woman Administrator, Associate AD for External Affairs, Faculty Athletics Representative, and a basketball alum who is also a donor.  The perspective of each committee member presents personal and professional tensions that the case study participants must negotiate throughout the search process.


Three coaching candidates – Josh Schertz, Terry Johnson, Robert Jones – have been selected by the search committee as finalists for the open vacancies.  Each coach has achieved a great deal of success through a long tenure and wide-ranging set of experiences in collegiate basketball. Profiles for each candidate provide committee members with key high-level background information. They have also completed pre-recorded video interviews conducted by Collegiate Sports Associates to provide additional insights to the search committee.


Please read the case, watch the candidate interviews, and consider who you would hire for each vacancy. If you are interested in additional details and exercises, please see the accompanying teaching note.


AthleticDirectorU Case Study – Finding The Next Great Head Coach




Josh Schertz – Head Men’s Basketball Coach – Lincoln Memorial University



Terry Johnson – Men’s Basketball Assistant Coach – Ohio State University



Robert Jones – Head Men’s Basketball Coach – Norfolk State University


Case studies have become a primary teaching tool in business schools. Students are expected to read and analyze the case before class, and the professor facilitates a discussion about it using an accompanying teaching note which outlines the concepts that the case aims to teach.


Case studies can also be a useful professional development tool for staff in the workplace, and help individuals learn about the problems and decision-making situations that are encountered by people in leadership positions. In addition, case studies are a good opportunity for senior staff to think about how we would handle certain situations that could arise.


AthleticDirectorU advises anyone interested in completing the case study in a group setting to avoid reading the teaching note below until instructed by their designated case group leader. If you are completing the case study in a solo setting, then you should read the teaching note after completing the critical thinking exercises presented in the case.


AthleticDirectorU Teaching Note – Finding The Next Great Head Coach