As loudly as we have all complained over the cosmetic problems, isn’t it time we start to holler about the complexion problem? As of this writing, there are five black head coaches in Division I football.
Five black head coaches out of ONE-HUNDRED AND NINETEEN SCHOOLS.
That, my friends, is good, old-fashioned racism. There is no other explanation for it. Is anyone going to try to argue that there are only five black men in America qualified to run a football team? Good Lord, I hope not. I would like to believe that as a society we have come a lot farther in race relations than that.
One would think that after spending the majority of their days pining for the best black athletes in the land to resurrect and/or sustain their football teams, the average athletic director would find it in his heart to hire a black man to guide them.
The only five black head coaches in major-college football are Sylvester Croom (Mississippi State), Tyrone Willingham (Washington), Ron Prince (Kansas State), Randy Shannon (Miami) and Turner Gill (Buffalo).
Karl Dorrell was fired from UCLA this week, and that was a good news/bad news proposition at best. The good news was that Dorrell was not fired because he was black, but rather he was fired because he wasn’t very good. The bad news is that too many people will see the Dorrell firing as an example of a black coach failing.
This is pitiful. Karl Dorrell was hired in large part to clean up the off-the-field messes that Bob Toledo’s Bruins spread all over Westwood for almost a decade. Dorrell is a former Bruin himself and was counted on to bring class and respectability back to the UCLA football program. He did just that. The only thing he couldn’t do was put a basketball school emphatically on the football map.
Tyrone Willingham was called on to do the same thing at Notre Dame. He cleaned up the Irish image with a no-nonsense approach and an eye for detail. He was jettisoned soon after the great, wise white men in charge of football in South Bend wanted someone else.
We all know the amazing improvement Mr. Weis has brought to the Irish. He has helped them become the laughingstock of Division I football as well as an albatross around NBC’s neck. Nothing like being contractually obliged to showcase a three-win team every Saturday. Way to go, guys.
When Croom was hired by Mississippi State in 2004, he became the first black head coach in the history of the Southeastern Conference. Go look at the calendar, folks. We were all the way up to 2004 before the SEC found a way to throw a brother a bone. Yuck.
An NCAA study released a year ago determined that 46.1 percent of Division 1-A players in 2005 were black. Yet, just 4.2 percent of the coaches are black. That isn’t a black eye for the sport, it’s a bodybag.
Fortunately, I have found a solution for this blatant racism. It will require some party loyalty and a little bit of sacrifice, but it will work. In fact, I will be so bold as to say that if my plan is properly implemented, we may be able to get the black coaching representation all the way up to 10 percent in one year.
Listen up. This is for all black, high school football players. The phenoms. The players that get asked in the middle of their junior year, “Where do you plan on going to college when you graduate?”
Look the reporter squarely in the eye and say these seven words. “Washington, Mississippi State, Kansas State, Buffalo, Miami.”
Say the names of these five schools and only these five schools. When asked why you chose those programs, just say, “I feel more comfortable playing for a black head coach.”
If only a third of the top recruiting class in the country did this, I am fairly certain athletic directors across the country would start racking up big phone bills trying to track down the best black coach available.
To all of them I say best of lucky,
I say do it! Break the system. Far to many kids are being used to perpetuate an oppressive system. The student/athlete is not true any longer. I would say that implementing what Jay proposes will do go for the black coaches but we need to go further. We need to demand greater representation of the minority voice.