College Basketball Coaching is a Killer Dream Job

Men's College basketball (Image credit: https://indivisiblegame.com/)

If you’re a Third Culture Kid who’s back in the United States for college and your school has a competitive basketball team, the month of March holds particular influence in the minds of sports fans and the head coach has a lot to do with it.

Every university with a basketball team — male and/or female — needs a head coach and assistant coaches who are familiar with the game and have a strong background in fundamentals to teach young men and women.

College basketball in the lights (via Pixabay)
College basketball in the lights (via Pixabay)

Basketball Coaching Requirements

College and professional coaches usually must have a bachelor’s degree, typically in any subject. However, some coaches may decide to study exercise and sports science, physiology, kinesiology, nutrition and fitness, physical education or sports medicine.

All college coaches must have a four-year degree to be eligible to coach, but many begin their careers as graduate assistants, taking courses at the school where they are coaching before learning the ins and outs of the profession.


A lot depends on the school, as well as the program’s progress and the coach they are working with. To attract the most qualified and experienced head coaches to their staffs, most top-level universities will offer salary raises and lucrative benefit arrangements for their assistants.

march madness college basketball  logo with money behind it
March madness is one of the biggest tournaments in the United States.

Another reason why many head coaches are so well-paid is the NCAA championship tournament held every March, which pits 65 teams from the 366 Division 1 teams in a bracket that culminates in the final two teams facing off in early April. However, that represents just a small percentage of the teams that compete in college basketball.

It’s safe to say that coaching at the college level is tough. This job requires so much of your time just to be somewhat successful. Futhermore, to claim that coaches at top-tier colleges devote a significant amount of time to their positions during the season is an understatement.

Women's college basketball team
Women’s college basketball team

During the season, most spend 80 to 90 hours a week consulting with players and the rest of the coaching staff, the athletic administration, answering calls from prospects and high school or community coaches at all hours of the day and night, and meeting with boosters.


Recruiting is also a big hassle. Coaches must be able to build relationships with kids while in season. Coaches must consult with community and high school coaches, watch recruit videos, meet with the recruits and their parents or other friends, depending on the family situation, and also meet with the compliance officer at the school they work with to ensure they are following NCAA or NAIA rules.

(A new wrinkle added in recent years are Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) agreements where college athletes, while prohibited from being paid by the universities they play for, can sign contracts with outside sponsors.)

One important thing about recruiting is grades. Coaches must make sure their recruits are good both on the court and in the classroom.

Coaches spend an excessive amount of time in high school and college gyms, but most will assure you that what they do and the time they spend doing it is well worth it because they are able to mentor and mold young men into people while still feeding their own competitive and success-oriented drives.

Men's College basketball (via Pixabay)
Men’s College basketball (Image credit: https://indivisiblegame.com/)
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  1. College sports are definitely one of my favorite aspects of going to school, but I feel as though I have never accounted for all the things that go into it. I’ve always thought about the hard work that goes into being a student athlete, but never the coaches per say. Coaches have to build relationships with a number of people, not only on the team, but people that they are recruiting from high schools. I also wasn’t aware that coaches needed to have degrees. I thought that only had to have athletic experience. I found this article to be very interesting and eye opening.

  2. Super interesting read! I actually didn’t know much March madness so I learned a lot. I didn’t realize how much goes into recruiting for college sports. As well as I didn’t realize the amount of time that coaches put into planning out strategies and other stuff that goes on in the background. I appreciate the dedication and work that coaches and players put into the sport.

  3. March Madness is definitely a massive part of American sports culture. Few college-level athletic organizations can claim such an enormous following at levels near NBA viewership, so it absolutely makes sense that the staff – coaches included – of these organizations work so hard. I’ve never stopped to think about how much they have to put into keeping their team at the peak of physical and mental strength. I wonder how TCKs factor into such a system. Are there players, staff, and coaches who have culturally mobile roots? If so, what are their stories? These questions might give us an insight into what March Madness means to TCKs.

  4. Since I’ve been alive on this planet March Madness has been one of the most well known sports tournaments throughout America. As of recently it has become even more popular at both the women and mens respected levels. With that I never really took into retrospective how hard this could be to sustain a well rounded team. I think it gets over-looked that coaches put in a lot of hours to recruit and try to build the best cohesive unit possible and after just one year of playing that whole team can move around. Though this is common for Americans to witness and see a college sports atmosphere almost as wild and popular as the pros, many TCK families could be expierencing this for their first time. I do not recall many other cultures that have as big of college sports association as the NCAA. Therefore, this could be a huge way for people to get involved in a different culture. I had never really accounted for that until reading this article, which was very enlightening to view March Madness beyond the actual playing of basketball.

  5. Growing up in Canada, this concept of sports and the amount of money it makes is a completely foreign concept. Big name schools that attract of a lot of talent such as Duke, or UNC, pay their coaches millions of dollars, and have the school themselves will have sponsorship from large companies such as Nike and Jordan brand. Having a big name school attract coaches and I believe it plays a role in kids attending their schools, as well as trying to get a job in this competitive job market. So it looks like these big name schools will continue to grow and get bigger in other aspects as well besides sports.

  6. As a student athlete myself, March Madness is definitely one of the craziest times of the year. We actually have a couple of international kids on our team who got to experience March Madness first hand for themselves. Recruiting is actually very popular overseas, and I bet if you looked on any roster in the teams playing in the tournament right now, you would see a handful of players from different countries, which I think is amazing. This article was pretty eye-opening to the behind the scenes work that goes on in NCAA sports and I feel was very informative to people who don’t know much about what goes on and what it takes to be a collegiate coach.

  7. It’s honestly mindboggling how intense coaching can be at the college level. The fact that the average amount of hours they must put in is 80-90 a week is astounding in itself. It’s far more than a job commitment, rather at that point it’s a way of life. I’m curious if the college basketball scene is as intense in other nations compared to the United States. If not, then perhaps the intensity is in a different sport. Either way, sports are so vital to so many cultures that sometimes I forget to step back and see how truly crazy it is that we have such a commitment to the game. It’s good now that athletes can get sponsorship and payment for their work, especially because before there’d often be millionaire coaches with players on food stamps. Finally having the chance to earn money off of the game is a big step for athletes and now if we can just fix the disparities between men’s and women’s aired/non-aired sports, we can really see some big progress.

  8. At least the bachelor’s required to be a coach is somewhat related to the sport. It would suck if my coach spent so many years studying computers or how to grow plants rather than how to benefit me on the court.

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