The lack of Black college football coaches is still glaring, and so are the excuses behind it

I started beating school football in 1987. Nick Saban won’t be head coach for another three years. Mac Brown won 11 career victories.

I wrote the first story about the lack of racial diversity among head coaches at the university in 1992. The number of black coaches in student football has gone from three to zero this year. I thought this story – actually a series of stories for the Dallas Morning News – opened up new horizons. I thought school football would open up new horizons. I thought the new generation of coaches – my generation – would judge only on merit.

The lack of diversity in the training of university footballers has become an annual kettle of what we journalists call corporate reporting. Many of my colleagues have written on the subject. I wrote about it on Newsday in New York City in 1996, and I’ve been coming back to it ever since. Here we are in 2020, literally a generation away. Nick Saban in his 25th season as head coach of the university. Mac Brown won 257 career victories. Apart from Saban and Brown, little is known about university football then or now.

Crime doesn’t pay.

The defense can’t take this anymore.

Coordinators make millions.

Don’t start rebuilding me.

But there is nothing greener than the lack of diversity among university football coaches.

This year there are 14 black coaches among the 130 programs of the FBS. Oops, Vanderbilt fired Derek Mason last weekend. That makes 13. Although this is 13 more than in 1992, it also means that only 10% of the programs have black coaches in a sport where almost half of the players are black, according to the NCAA’s Race and Gender Demographic Database. In the SEC, 61% of players are black, and now that Vanderbilt has fired Mason, black players no longer have head coaches in two Power 5 conferences – SEC and Big 12. In the year 2020. And since the rental season is about to resume, no particular changes are expected.

Fault! The file name is not specified. Vanderbilt fired head coach Derek Mason last week after a 0-8 season (and a record 27-55) in the sixth year of the program. He was the sixth winning coach in the history of the program and the second leading his comrades to two bowling matches. George Walker IV/

In recent months, I have asked commissioners, sports directors, university directors and, of course, university football coaches why we have lost a whole generation – why my generation, directors my age, could not make progress on this issue. She’s been on everyone’s lips for almost 30 years. A walk? It’s not that much.

I don’t think there is an answer, said Stanford head coach David Shaw, who has won more competitions (87) and conference titles (three) than any other black head coach in the history of FBS.

This is an excellent question, said Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlesby, who hired Shaw as the 2011 Stanford Athletic Director. The Bowlesby conference hasn’t had a head coach for blacks since Texas fired Charlie Strong in 2016. In fact, none of the ten sports directors present has ever hired a football coach from a school. Bowlesby added that we should be responsible for that.

They have the kind of thinking that is established in our country, in our minds, in our culture, why people are not equipped to do certain things, said Ivin Jasper of the Navy, one of the few black offensive coordinators in the FBS. She jumps at every thought. It’s not fair, but that was the norm.

Head coaches are mainly hired by white sports directors who run programs supported mainly by white donors. The PVAs are mainly recruited by white university presidents, who are usually subordinate to the white boards. If we wait for that dynamic to change, we can stay here for a while. According to an NCAA survey conducted in 2019, 10 black sports directors and two black presidents worked in 65 Power 5 schools. As far as the black voices among the donors are concerned, we only know that they were not very strong, if at all. Nobody seems to know how many there are. The Securities and Exchange Commission conducts a demographic study of its 14 fan clubs and, according to Assistant Commissioner Herb Vincent, does not ask about race. I asked the athletic directors of the SEC, the Big 12 and the Pac-12 if they were aware of such data for their conferences. Nobody accepted that.

Alabama Athletic Director Greg Byrne said he believes that the diversity of fans at Bryant-Denny Stadium is increasing, more or less as a result of a pandemic, but he said he needed to put this information on the priority list of a modern and growing sports department.

As a sports department, we have more than 20 teams, and our staff is no more than the NBA for two teams [many NBA organizations manage NBA and WNBA teams], said Birn. We’re dealing with scientists. The professional teams don’t. We take care of compliance. We are active in the field of recruitment and selection. They don’t handle these things.

Until you get to campus and realize that half the time you’re just trying to keep your head above water. They have 650 children between the ages of 18 and 22 and the associated problems. They don’t have one or two trainers. They have 16 coaches. Honestly, I think that’s partly because there are things that have never been a priority. I don’t think collecting good, solid demographic information about your fan base has been a priority, but I think that will change soon.

As diverse as the fange community is, the pressure on universities is not enough to convince them to hire black football coaches.

Whoever pulled the trigger in the recruitment process will always be the one they want, Shaw said. … I support people who have a fair hiring process, but in the end they always choose the person they find most suitable for the job.

Position SEK ACC-* Large 12 Pac-12 The big ten Total
Head Coach 0 1 0 5 4 10
Out. Coordinator 0 1 1 1 2 5
co-OC 1 0 1 1 3 6
Def. Coordinator 3 4 0 0 0 7
CODTS 0 2 1 3 2 8
Coordinate special teams. 2 3 2 2 1 10
JTS Assistant 0 1 0 0 0 1
Strength/condition 3 2 2 4 2 13
Assistant Head Coach 4 1 5 1 1 12
Head Coach 2 1 1 1 4 9
Continuous coordination. 2 2 2 2 0 8
Old DC 0 1 0 0 0 1
Continuous coordination. 1 1 1 0 2 5
DC operation 0 1 1 0 0 2
Sled trainer 11 11 8 9 10 49

It’s fair to say that minorities don’t have to be in positions to hire minorities. The sports director and the president need to feel comfortable with a coach they trust to run the financial engine of their eight- or nine-foot sports department, where some people think the system has failed.

The pool of minority candidates must still be good, Shaw said. Sometimes it was good. Sometimes there is an argument about whether one or more candidates are good enough for the job.

Shaw is a student and an assistant coach. Her father, Willie, went to Stanford twice. David Shaw played at Stanford. Shaw knew how to be a coach and he knew Stanford. This helped justify Bowlesby’s decision in 2011 to promote Shaw, the cardinal’s offensive coordinator, to the current head coach Vic Fangio of the Denver Broncos, among others.

As an athletic director, you have to be an idiot to hire a coordinator who’s never been a head coach if there’s anything else you can do, Bowlesby said. The list of things you need to learn as a head coach is as long as your hand.

This is Shaw, who has long arms:

The head coach has something to do with football, but everything else takes much more time: managing people, working with alumni, working with athletic directors and presidents, Probst and other campus staff, planning, working in complex situations, working with the team individually and collectively.

You can be a great X and O coach and lose your team because you’ve made bad decisions. It’s like showing you how to climb a staircase and then trying to climb a mountain.

The difference between the assistant and the head coach dates back more than a generation. Programs have more moving parts. There are local trainers, analysts and recruiters who have made marketing as important as talent assessment. What hasn’t changed? A hit with black candidates for the mentoring position.

In 1992 there were four black coordinators in the I-A division and the excuse was that they hadn’t been trained at that level for a long time. Give him time. Almost three decades later, 65 Power 5 teams have 12 black coordinators: seven in defense and five in attack.

Give him time.

You know what else hasn’t changed? Black coaches are hired for a specific assignment. Of the 65 programs, 49 have black running back coaches. It is a remnant of the early days of color line disturbance in training.

They depend on one or two black assistants, said Dr. Leonard N. Moore, Vice President of Diversity and Community Engagement at the University of Texas, who, in addition to coaching, has to provide all that mentoring and support, all that emotional work for which they are not paid, while white coaches can just sit in the movies and work on their jobs.

I don’t want to be hired because I’m black. I don’t want to be hired because I’m black.

Ivin Jasper, Navy, about the possibilities of training in school football.

What I heard about this in 1992 is very similar to what I heard in 2020.

In the mid and late seventies, many white coaches believed that blacks were better able to meet the needs of black players than they were themselves. — Ron Brown’s assistant in Nebraska, 1992.

In soccer: We need to find a black one to form the running backs and a black one to form the secondaries. We have not allowed promotions that are the result of a performance-based promotion. — Bolesby, 2020

This attitude indicates a lack of progress in university football. This does not mean that no progress has been made.

Initially, black coaches were recruited for higher positions. Five of the twelve Pac-12 teams have black coaches. Chances are that some of them will be successful. If we can succeed, said Colorado head coach Carl Dorrell, perhaps other conferences will pay attention.

The fact that Dorrell made this declaration in 2020 is prima facie proof that the other conferences have not yet received sufficient attention.

Then licensed black coaches began to take advantage of second chances, which until recently were unavailable. Until 2015, respected coaches such as Sylvester Krum in Mississippi (21-38), Randy Shannon in Miami (29-25) and Raffin McNeill in East Carolina (43-34) did not receive a second main escort. If that didn’t sound like an alarm of racial discrimination, it was an echo.

In the past four years, however, Texas has opened fire on the forts and landed in the United States. Kevin Sumlin left Texas for Arizona. Black coaches had other options when the athletic directors discovered they could win the press conference by hiring a coach who worked in the tent. The trend suggests that a second chance might have more to do with the prestige of the coach’s previous work than with the color of his skin.

What HBCU coaching legend Marino Kazem told me in 1992 would have been harder to believe if it had happened today. Kasem, a University Football Hall of Fame bus that won 159 career games in three HBCU games (including four national championships with Alcorn State), said he was interviewed for a job offer in Washington after winning his third championship in 1974.

Fault! The file name is not specified. Stanford David Shaw has won more games (87) and congressional tournaments (three) in the history of the FBS than any other black head coach. Cody Glenn/Sportswire symbol

The Seattle promoters didn’t give me much support, Casem said at the time. They came out and said: If you call this man by his name, we won’t give you $100,000. … They’ve resigned themselves to having more black people. They’re not bringing the Black Dude into the whole program.

Casem died last spring, a few months after Washington promoted the Joint Defense Coordinator Jimmy Lake to the position of second black head coach in the program’s history.

The main purpose of this is to promote progress. The rest of the story hasn’t changed. At a certain level, it is agreed that the lack of diversity at the top of the university’s management framework is a problem. How else can the increase in the number of professional titles be explained? While the number of black coordinators under the Power 5 conferences has remained virtually unchanged, there are six coordinators for common attacks, eight coordinators for common attacks, ten coordinators for special groups, twelve assistant head coaches and nine assistant head coaches.

According to Moore, some of these white coaches throw a bone at a black assistant with this fake head coach title. And no one has ever told me that the lack of football coaches at Black College is still distressing, as are the excuses behind it.

After last season Notre Dames promoted head coach Brian Kelly Lance Taylor to race coordinator. Taylor, 38 years old, has a great resume. He trained under Nick Saban in Alabama and Shaw in Stanford. He has worked for the New York Jets and the Caroline Panthers (twice). Taylor trained Christian McCaffrey and Bryce Love with the cardinal. The tenth grader of this season, Kyren Williams, is a glimmer of hope for the Irish, who with their 229.7 meter speed per race are 50 meters higher than the average of a year ago.

Taylor helps Irish offensive coordinator Tommy Reese, 28, former Notre Dame white quarterback. The gaze of an older black assistant behind a young white coach can make the eyebrows frown. It wouldn’t be fair to either coach. Reese is a child prodigy, the son of a college coach and an old NFL scout, who has been playing football since childhood and has sharpened his craft as a player.

More people should talk about the number of minorities at the mediator level, Taylor said. I don’t think there’s enough people to talk about it. Until we have fixed the subcutaneous layers, we don’t see them on the surface, where we all judge if there are real changes.

Mike Loxley in his second season as head coach in Maryland, nine years after his release from New Mexico. In August, Locksley formed the National Minority Football Coalition to remove barriers to coaching minority candidates. Loxley believes that social justice movements can be the key to further change for minority educators by 2020. Shaking hands, hope and confidence have not reached their goal.

At one point, according to Locksley in a panel discussion on the 20th. October at the Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism in Maryland, goodwill is waning, and the only way to influence NFL franchise owners, or even athletic directors and associated sponsors, is usually to influence their paperbacks. They hurt their ability to make money.

It doesn’t have to be confrontational.

If you trust good will, you’re in trouble, N. Jeremy Duru, professor of law at the American University, said at the round table. One of the key issues at this stage is to work on the convergence of interests rather than good will. Let these universities understand that they help themselves by thinking broadly about who they want to hire, by casting a wide net, by consciously focusing on diversity.

The madman grabbed a carrot and Loxley took the whip, but they say the same thing. There is a reluctance to support the NCAA’s rooney rule in the NFL mandate, adopted in 2003, which states that each team must interview at least one minority candidate for the position of head coach. That rule didn’t work. The NFL only has three black coaches. Like Shaw said, you can’t force a school to hire someone…

Jasper, naval offensive coordinator, graduated in 2018 as the second candidate for the vacant position with Rice. The 50-year-old said that the perception that Black coaches are not the best head coaches will continue until someone decides to change it.

I don’t want to be hired because I’m black, Jasper said. I don’t want to be hired because I’m black.

University football has developed strongly since I started talking about it in 1987. Some things have barely changed.

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