Regardless of what Jurgen Klinsmann may have gotten right or wrong during his nearly five and a half years at the USA's helm, his tenure was remarkably long relative to national team coaches around the world.
Klinsmann was appointed U.S. national team coach on July 29, 2011. He guided the USA to the 2013 Gold Cup title and, after qualifying the team for the 2014 World Cup, had his contract renewed in December of 2013 though 2018.
At the 2014 World Cup, a win over Ghana and a tie with Portugal earned the USA passage to the second round, where it fell to Belgium.
Klinsmann getting fired this week meant that of the 32 teams that competed at the 2014 World Cup, only six still have the same coach: Germany (Joachim Low), France (Didier Deschamps), Uruguay (Oscar Tabarez), Colombia (Jose Pekerman), Iran (Carlos Quieroz) and Australia (Ange Postecoglou).
At last summer’s European Championship, of the 24 teams, only Germany’s Loew (2006) and Spain’s Vicente del Bosque (2008), winners of the last two World Cups, had been in place longer than Klinsmann had been in charge of the USA. Euro 2006 winner Portugal was led by Fernando Santos, who had taken the helm two years earlier.
At the 2016 Copa America Centenario, won by Chile while the USA finished fourth behind third-place Colombia and runner-up Argentina, Klinsmann and Uruguay’s Tabarez were the longest-serving coaches of the 16 teams. Chile’s coach, the Argentine Juan Antonio Pizzi, had been on the job for four months when tournament kicked off.
Some nations are notably impatient with their national team coaches. Mexico, for example, has had 18 (!) head coaches in the last 20 years. The USA has had four during that time: Steve Sampson, Arena, Bradley and Klinsmann.
Germany is a glaring exception when it comes to attaining success while keeping the same coach for a long period.
The most common approach, when a team is in a rut, is to change coaches. After all, one can’t swap out the entire player pool. But a coaching switch can invigorate the players. Those who’ve felt they haven’t been given the playing time they deserve are inspired to prove themselves to the new coach while the regulars realize their spots are no longer secure unless they impress the new boss.