Any fan of NCAA basketball knows that the talent of the players on the court doesn’t guarantee a team’s success. While talented athletes play a major role in NCAA basketball, their teams can only succeed if they are led by equally passionate coaches.
If you share that passion, you might be interested in a coaching job in NCAA basketball. A career that involves helping young athletes achieve their goals and realize their full potential could be immensely rewarding for someone like yourself.
Don’t worry if you’re not sure what you must do to land your dream college basketball coaching job. If you don’t know where to start, this guide will help.
How to Become a College Basketball Coach
Get an Education
It’s important to earn a relevant degree if you want to make yourself the ideal candidate for college basketball coaching jobs. Although not having the right academic background doesn’t entirely disqualify you from such jobs, you’ll certainly be a much more attractive prospect if you do have the right degree.
College basketball coaches often have bachelor’s degrees in fields of study related to sports in some capacity. Options include sports management, athletic training, or similar majors.
This isn’t necessarily to say you need to go back to college and earn a second degree if you’ve already graduated with a degree in an unrelated field of study. Many people who decide to switch careers and pursue sports jobs often enroll in online sports management certification programs. These are typically less expensive than traditional university programs, they take much less time to complete, and because they can often be completed online, they don’t require any travel. While landing an NCAA basketball coaching job is much easier if you chose a relevant major when you first went to college, this is an option to consider if you did not.
Gain Knowledge and Experience
Knowing the right people and having relevant experience helps you land any job. Basketball jobs are no exception.
Luckily, there are numerous different ways you can get the kind of experience you need to eventually become a college basketball coach. If you’re currently in college, whether as an undergrad or a graduate student, you can pursue entry-level basketball jobs at your university. Doing so helps you make connections and get a behind-the-scenes look at what coaching a college basketball team actually involves. If no basketball jobs are available, many college sports programs allow students to gain experience by working as interns or unpaid assistants. The value of your experience will be worth the lack of a paycheck.
If you’re not currently enrolled in college, nor do you expect to be in the near future, there are still ways you can get experience and network with people who can help you get a college basketball coaching job. You could stand out as a basketball coach for a high school team, youth league, or other smaller league. Or, you could simply pursue basketball jobs that offer you the chance to showcase your passion and dedication.
Also, don’t make the mistake of assuming you can’t be a candidate for basketball coaching jobs if you don’t have substantial experience playing basketball as a college student. It’s not impossible to convince potential employers you are dedicated to your goals and can thrive as a college basketball coach, even if you never played the game as a university student.
Climb the Ladder
It’s important to understand that your first NCAA basketball job is unlikely to be that of a head coach for a major college team. As with all careers, becoming a college basketball coach requires climbing the ladder.
There are a few ways you may go about this. One is to demonstrate your skills with basketball jobs outside of the college environment. For example, once more, if you’re a particularly talented high school basketball coach, you may eventually be able to transition to coaching for a college team.
Another option is to pursue roles in university basketball coaches’ staff. For instance, it’s not uncommon for basketball coaches to start out as assistants or coordinators. Over the course of a few years, they consistently move up the ranks, replacing the head coach when they retire or choose to work for another university.
Important Facts to Remember
It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with certain practical realities and factors before deciding if a college basketball coaching job is the ideal career for you. You don’t want to waste any time and money pursuing the wrong career. If you’re still interested in sports jobs in general, there are many other options from which to choose.
Your potential future salary is an important factor to consider. Technically, it’s unlikely that the average salary of an NCAA coach is greater than $100,000. That said, the amount of money college coaches can earn varies greatly on a case-by-case basis. There are numerous successful college coaches who earn millions of dollars every year.
You also have to consider the lifestyle of a college basketball coach. Depending on how successful your team is, and how much of a priority sports are at the university where you work, your job may involve regular travel, and you might not keep typical nine-to-five hours.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pursue NCAA basketball coaching jobs if you’re truly passionate about them. That information may not discourage you at all. Luckily, if you’re hard-working and you follow the suggestions in this guide, you can achieve your career dreams.