October 7, 2009

A high school coaching job, like insanity, is hereditary: You get it from your kids.

Something I noticed in researching my Taki's Magazine column on running backs is what a high percentage of star white high school athletes have their dads coaching them.

Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh, a former NFL QB who played for his dad in high school, likes having players, such as his NCAA-leading running back Toby Gerhart, whose fathers were their high school coaches:
Kids who have been coached by their fathers, they are almost always really coachable kids,” Harbaugh said. “They take advice, they’re willing to learn. I’m happy to have them.”

Any teenager who will listen to his father will listen to any adult male authority figure.

So, is the correlation between star athletes and fathers who are employed coaching them in high school nurture? That makes sense. Football is a complicated game, and having a professional coach around the house can certainly help.

Or, is it nature? That also makes sense. Coaches tend to have been very good players, so some of their skill is likely passed down.

Yet, keep in mind a third possibility: reverse nepotism. There are a few high school coaches who have inherited their jobs from their star sons. Generally speaking, high schools aren't supposed to recruit grade school athletes, but hiring a kid's dad as a coach is okay.

(There's also regular nepotism, too, such as the high school coach who had his son play quarterback and Ben Roethlisberger, now QB of the Super Bowl champ Steelers, play wide receiver so his son would have a large target to throw the ball in the general direction of. The son went to a Division 3 college, washed out as quarterback, but wound up making a good Div 3 wide receiver.)

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

The first title 'reverse heredity' was much better and wittier.

Gil said...

Just like sterility - it's hereditary.

GMR said...

Having dad as coach means the player probably didn't come from a father-less house.

Anonymous said...

Great article, Steve. Also great online magazine! I wasn't aware of it before. A lot of bright writers on that crew. I'm bookmarking it.

Anonymous said...

Look, we talk a lot about nature on this site, but if you think that nurture isn't important, then you're nuts.

Johann Sebastian Bach was taught violin and harpsichord by his father, and in turn supervised the musical education of his twenty [TWENTY!!!] children [ten of whom survived to adulthood].

Mozart & Beethoven were both groomed by their fathers - from a very young age - to be the men they grew up to be.

John Tukey [like Thomas Edison] was home-schooled by his mother.

Glenn Gould was taught the piano by his mother.

Homeschooled children dominate the National Spelling Bee & the National Geographic Bee.

You could go on and on and on in this vein almost forever.

Anonymous said...

It isn't working out at CU (univ of Colorado). Hawkins was crazy to hire his kid as QB.

Anonymous said...

Weird you mention it, here in AZ the Show Low QB just set the state record for passing touchdowns in the game, and yup, strangely enough, daddy was the coach.

Very bad form, I would say, to have the 1st string QB tossing fourth quarter TDs in a blowout win, don't you think?

Daddy/Coach's publicly stated logic: "We were going to score whether we passed it or ran it, and we needed to work on the passing game." What a jackass.

Andrea the Ruthless said...

There's probably some truth to this, but keep in mind that many great black athletes come from single-mother families. And, I don't think Felix Gomez or Eugene Nguyen is going to become a NFL running back even if his great-grandfather, grandfather, and father are his highschool and college coaches.

ironrailsironweights said...

Boxers who have their fathers as their cornermen, a fairly common practice especially at the lower levels, are said to be at increased risk of serious injury or even death. Allegedly, at least; I wouldn't imagine there have been any statistical studies. When a boxer is way overmatched and is taking a beating, an unrelated cornerman is more likely to keep him from going out for the next round, or might (literally) throw in the towel, while Dad is more likely to urge his son to try and tough it out.

Peter

Anonymous said...

Good post Steve-O, as is the preceding one.

Svigor said...

Look, we talk a lot about nature on this site, but if you think that nurture isn't important, then you're nuts.

So true. Trouble (okay, one trouble among many) is that humans are avid flexible strategizers so they tend to equalize nurture to the extent they can, ultimately tending towards making nurture a proxy for nature.

Anonymous said...

Off topic, but a piece of African-American "art" from 1963 that the Obamas chose to display in the White House turns out to have been a plagiarism of a 1953 piece by Henri Matisse.

Anonymous said...

OT

Seems like The Black Party is at a loss.....

Fight At Fenger While Officials Discuss Violence
Activists Say Violence Against Students Spiked After School Plan Started



CHICAGO (CBS) U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan arrives at the Four Seasons Hotel, 120 E. Delaware Pl., for a discussion on combatting violence among Chicago youth.

President Barack Obama was so shocked by the deadly
beating of a Fenger High School student that he dispatched two members of his cabinet to address the problem.

But on the day Attorney General Eric Holder and Education Secretary Arne Duncan met with local officials to discuss youth violence, there was another fight at Fenger.

AmericanGoy said...

Sorry Steve-o, but...

"Any teenager who will listen to his father will listen to any adult male authority figure."

What bull crap.

Reminds me of these dime-a-dozen studies that those wacky useless college nerds do.

One day tomatoes are good for you, next they are cancer central.

Am I reading Cosmo here?

What happened to the Steve-o who wrote about the housing bubble?

Siiiiigh...

This is depressing enough to make me update my silly lil' blog.

Anonymous said...

From the Fenger article:

"They was fighting," one girl said.

The quote was completely unnecessary. Is the reporter trying to hint at something?

Anonymous said...

Good lord, the quotes from that Fenger article are telling:

"I think they should have come out this way instead of downtown because this is where it's happening at out here"

"Some boys they got off the bus fighting and that. Then the police came over there breaking up the fight."

"I try and avoid the problem by walking and they chase me. The police not doing nothing. They sit out there and they watch people get chased."

"Before I went to this community school (Fenger), I didn't have no fights, no nothing; until I went outside the (Altgeld Gardens) community"

Anyone wanna take bets on whether the boy who made that last statement knows what a semicolon is?

Anonymous said...

"Seems like The Black Party is at a loss.....

Fight At Fenger While Officials Discuss Violence
Activists Say Violence Against Students Spiked After School Plan Started"


Yeah, I checked out that link.

The sidebar had thumbnail pics to click on for slide show stories.

Top to bottom:

1. Pic of black teen murder victim, caption death sparks outrage.

2. Pic of white man with a caption about Chicago's criminals.

3. Pic of fruit with caption about risky foods.

4. Pic of dog with a list of smartest/dumbest breeds.

5 - 10 Celebrities and gossip.


No I am not making this up.

Chris said...

did i hit my head or did obama just get a nobel?

nueez said...

What the hell? It was funny as a joke but they went and did it! Then again, considering the history of this particular prize, the Obama win isn't really all that egregious. Compared to Maathai, Carter, El-Baradei and Gore, Obama's quite a worthy winner. Heck, compared to Arafat, Timothy McVeigh is worthy.

The other day I fantasized about the science Nobel choosers going on strike until the current regime of Peace Prize choosers was purged. Maybe I didn't dream hard enough.

Seriously though, couldn't the committee hold it in until Obama actually did something?

Anonymous said...

"Before I went to this community school (Fenger), I didn't have no fights, no nothing; until I went outside the (Altgeld Gardens) community"

Anyone wanna take bets on whether the boy who made that last statement knows what a semicolon is?

10/08/2009



That kid is the brother of the kid that was killed (or "kilt", in their English). He has been arrest numerous times.

Anonymous said...

No I am not making this up.

10/08/2009



Welcome to the Chicago Media.

Anonymous said...

It's probably because having your father be the coach is the only way a white player can get a starting spot at a skill position these days.

ben tillman said...

It's not football, but this thread wouldn't be complete without mention of Pete and Press Maravich. Pete went to my high school but wound up at LSU when his dad was hired to coacn there.