Embracing the culture of winning in big-time college football: Exploring how fans reinforce coaching influence

James Sanderson, Rob Hardin, Joshua Pate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

College football coaches are often the highest paid employee at their institution and as such, have a great deal of influence. This research explored how fans reinforced coaching influence by examining responses to an incident between University of South Carolina head football coach Steve Spurrier and Ron Morris, a member of the local media. Using social identity theory as a framework, a thematic analysis of 221 postings to an article Morris wrote on The State website apologizing for criticisms he made towards Spurrier was conducted. Results indicated that fans reinforced coaching influence through: (a) personal vendetta attributions; (b) divergence with the fan base; (c) boycotts; (d) collective attacks; and (e) admonishments. A small portion of the sample expressed support for Morris through vindication. The results suggest that fans reinforce coaching influence to maintain emotional connections with a winning coach and football program. As fans do this, it leads to stronger in-grou
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics
StatePublished - 2014

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