Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Higher Education

First Advisor

George McClellan

Second Advisor

Amy E. Wells Dolan

Third Advisor

David Rock

Relational Format



Intercollegiate athletic departments encounter unique challenges as organizational units of higher education. Among these challenges is generating revenue to support the rising expenses of operating programs, funding coaches’ salaries, and investing in facilities. Many athletics departments generate revenue by fundraising through donor-based seating programs, philanthropic engagement, and stewardship benefits associated with levels of support. While various factors within an athletics organization can influence fundraising, the important position of head coaches is one of them. These visible positions can play a key role in influencing ticket sales, fan interest, and donations, thereby contributing to the financial viability of the entire organization.This study examined the relationship between head coaching change and donations to intercollegiate athletics programs in the Power Five conferences using the athletics department at the University of Mississippi as a case study. Univariate time series models for 60-months of data were developed and descriptive statistics were used to analyze data across three categories of giving. Kurt Lewin’s (1947) Change Management Theory served to inform the methodology of the study as well as the interpretation of data and development of recommendations. The results from this study demonstrate head coaching change in high-profile sports show the greatest variation in categories of giving that include tangible benefits. The results also show that sport-specific giving following a head coaching change varies by team, and that variation can be influenced significantly by a small number of donors. The information from this study can assist institutional leaders in better understanding the financial implications of organizational change in high-profile sports, as well as provide development leaders with data to increase philanthropy in lower-profile programs.



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