Brian D. Stanchak started The BDS Agency in 2013, which has quickly grown into a national leader in advising, marketing, and representing collegiate women’s basketball coaches. Brian’s 15 years of combined experience as a collegiate Director of Athletics and Division I basketball coach provides his clients with a unique perspective that no other agent in the industry possesses. Since 2013, The BDS Agency has worked with 30 clients who have obtained a first-time or new Division I Head Coach position, while renegotiating more than 25 other Division I Head Coach contracts. In 2015, he began the Head Coach Training Center as a way to help women’s basketball coaches beyond his client-base to learn from administrators and coaches strategies to obtain a coveted head coach position and be successful in that role.
What mistakes do you see coaches making while pursuing a position?
I see more assistant coaches make this first mistake, which is being too aggressive in their pursuit of a Head Coach position. They may feel that they need anyone and everyone reach out to the entire athletic department at the hiring university, which is not true. It doesn’t matter about the name of the person calling or the number of people calling, rather the quality of the relationship between the hiring administrator and someone willing to call on your behalf. You will need to work to find out who this person may be. Administrators want to hire someone that they know what to expect from. If someone they trust is willing to vouch for how good a coach is to work with or how well their players respond to them, it will help their chances significantly.
A mistake I see current head coaches make is thinking that the university with the available Head Coach position they desire should sell them more on the job than they need to sell themselves for the job. While there are times where a Univeristy will recruit a prospective head coach, a lot of times administrators will go through some sort of formal search process. There are two things that can happen if you have the “they should sell me more” mentality. One, it will come across as being difficult to work with. Two, they may think that if they have to convince you to take the job, you won’t truly be happy there, which wouldn’t be good for either side. If you want the job, make it known you want the job.
What role does networking play in obtaining a Head Coach position?
Networking is tremendously important. I always use the phrase, “it’s not who you know, it’s who knows you”. One things coaches need to remember is that networking must go beyond other coaches, but also include athletic administrators. The most basic way to build a strong network is to develop impactful relationships with your current and former athletic administrators. These administrators will know you better than anyone else and can be your biggest advocate. As I said before, administrators want to hire someone they know what to expect from. Whether the hiring administrator does or does not know your administrator, they will trust them more because they will be receiving a fellow-administrator’s perspective on your ability to lead a program outside of just on-the-court and recruiting responsibilities.
What is one important responsibility that a first-time Head Coach needs to prioritize in order to be successful?
Who you choose to hire and surround yourself with is critical in maximizing your success as a Head Coach. You need to hire assistant coaches and a support staff who you trust, will put in an equal effort, and will challenge you, but also be loyal to your vision when a decision is made.
A skill within this responsibility is “delegating”. It is the hardest skill to learn for a first-time Head Coach. As a Head Coach, there are so many more responsibilities than as a Head Coach, you will need to delegate to ensure tasks are taken care of and you don’t drive yourself crazy.
Delegation doesn’t just consist of telling others what you want them to do, but also explaining to them how you want it done. If there is miscommunication during delegation, the task will be incomplete or not done to your unique standards. It is why I always feel it is so important a first-time Head Coach hire assistant coaches with good experience because they don’t have time to learn both how to be a Head Coach and teach assistant coaches how to be an Assistant Coach.