There is a common progression of a program (or head coach) on the rise. Here is the run-on sentence explaining that progression, which I call the “Synergistic Trend.”
A season of overachievement above the team’s talent level leads to access to better players which leads to better recruiting which leads to higher team talent level which leads to better performance on the field which leads to access to better players which leads to better recruiting which leads to higher team talent level which leads to better performance on the field and on and on.
Therefore, the most important characteristic in a head coach is the ability to consistently overachieve above the talent level of his players.
When a coach has an Elite Season, we see the next recruiting class increases 16% over the average of the previous 5 years. When a program becomes an Elite Program, we see the Eliteness Effect stabilize the program at the highest level. At this point, the average talent upgrade of the roster is 28% over the next 3 years. That is a staggering increase.
Barring a coaching change, scandal, or lack of commitment from the administration, a program is typically stable for at least a decade at this point. This is the where the program is running downhill to have an Elite Season (40% chance) while non-EPs are running uphill (4% chance).
Above, you can also see what happens when a team loses Elite Program status. On average, a program’s talent level will be reduced by 23% over the next 5 years. That is a massive decline indicating there will need to be a program rebuild.