Coaching Efficiency and Team Performance: An Examination of Texas Class 5A High School Football

Submitted by Scott J. Callan, Ph.D. and Janet M. Thomas, Ph.D.

Scott J. Callan is a professor in the Department of Economics at Bentley University. Janet M. Thomas is an Emeritus Professor of Economics at Bentley University.


In this research, we contribute to the literature on amateur sports competition by empirically estimating a production frontier for a sample of Texas high school football programs. Modeling a production frontier in this context allows us to empirically isolate the influence of offensive and defensive inputs on a team’s overall performance. In so doing, we are able to predict a measure of relative production efficiency for each team. Research-based estimates indicate that, on average, Texas high school football teams play well below potential, which in turn is linked to coaching inefficiency. Each team’s predicted efficiency level is then used in a salary regression and is found to be an indirect determinant of a head coach’s salary.