Far too often, in all areas of life, I see people making the mistake of confusing the two as the same thing. Some may ask, what is the difference between character and reputation? I believe the great coach John Wooden differentiated between them best, when he said: “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”
Most hiring decisions are weighted more on a person’s reputation than on their character. One reason for this is that it is much more difficult to assess ones character than it is to assess their reputation. Another reason is that it is much easier to cover your ass if things go wrong with a hire/hiring if you can point to their “fine” reputation coming in.
This same skewed logic applies when it comes to acquiring players in college and professional sports. If a coach brings in a highly regarded player and he does not pan out, it is usually looked on as a fluke and quickly forgiven. But if a coach brings in a player no one wanted and he fails, that coach will fall under pressure for not bringing in the right players. While I believe both coaches would be deserving of scrutiny, I would argue that the coach who brought in the top flight player deserves more pressure for under performance than the coach who started with a player without a high rating coming in.