Athletes' perceptions of coaching performance among N.C.A.A. Division III and N.A.I.A. head football coaches in the state of Mississippi
The role of the college coach has reached a high level of prominence and influence. As sports have evolved, so have the roles of the coaches. The concept of the ideal coach continues to be debated by individuals surrounding the coaching profession. Research indicates that the ideal coach consists of a variety of characteristics that culminate in a positive and effective coach-athlete relationship. One instrument proven to help assess ideals of the coaching profession is the Coaching Evaluation Questionnaire (CEQ). The CEQ consists of a 36-item questionnaire indicating the desirable characteristics of a coach, and attempts to provide an objective evaluation of a coach's performance from the point of view of the student-athlete. The goal of administering the CEQ is to identify coaching strengths and weaknesses in order to improve their performance and, ultimately, the coach-athlete relationship. This study was designed to examine athletes' perceptions of coaching performance among NCAA Division III and NAIA head football coaches in the state of Mississippi, as well as to investigate the importance of player evaluation in improving coaching effectiveness. The Coach Evaluation Questionnaire (CEQ) was administered to 127 subjects under standardized conditions. Seven demographic variables were provided to determine the following player characteristics: academic grade level (freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior), playing status of subject (starter or non-starter), primary position played (offense or defense), if the head coach was the player's position coach (or not), number of years of participation in the program (1, 2, 3, 4, or 5), number of years of eligibility used (1, 2, 3, 4, or 5), and member affiliation of the school (NCAA Division III or NAIA). Analysis of the data indicated that no significant differences existed between the variables of academic grade level, starting or non-starting status, and offensive or defensive positions regarding the athletes' perceptions about the head coach. One item of interest involved a significant difference in the perception of the head coach by players grouped by years in the program. According to Tukey's post-hoc test, the first year perceptions were more positive than the second year, which were more positive than the third year.