Estimating NCAA Football Coaches’ Abilities An Application of Item Response Theory
Brandon LeBeau, Andrew Zieffler, and Kyle Nickodem
University of Iowa & University of Minnesota
- Began after Tim Brewster was fired at the University of Minnesota.
- Now they have a new coach again!
- Wanted to try to predict next great coach.
- Proceeded to explore data available to answer this question.
- Data came from a few sources:
- Predict the 'ability' of the coaches.
- Find other variables that explain variation in the 'ability' of the coaches.
- Predict the next 'great' coach.
- Not a traditional IRT model as the game ID is not included.
- The model does allow for a coaches ability to vary with years.
- The team effect is constant.
- This model was fitted using R:
- Results shown throughout are from
- 'Modern' era data, 1998 onward and coaches with at least 6 games per year.
Iowa State made good hire?
Fire Tim Brewster?
Does a coach overperform compared to average team ability?
- Value-added like logic.
- If coaches over/under perform compared to a team average
- are they more likely to be retained?
- if fired, are they a good fit for another team?
- How quickly does team expectation change?
6 Coaches on the Hot Seat
Which of these 6 should be fired?
Back to Minnesota
- Add covariates to model shown above
- or use the ability estimates obtained above as an outcome.
- Explore moving average for team expectation.
- Explore good vs bad coaching hires.