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Tuesday, December 23, 2008
whither chizik and kiffin?

For years, the National Collegiate Athletic Association and Division I athletic directors and university administrators have come under intense scrutiny and fire for their repeated failure to hire African American and other minority head coaches for their collegiate football programs. The Sports Law Blog has addressed the issue of minority head coach hiring on many occasions, including recently. Despite the rhetoric, scrutiny, criticism and venom, the NCAA, athletic directors and university administrators continue to ignore the call for equal opportunity. Athletic directors and university presidents continue to thumb their collective noses at critics in particular, but also, at the very athletes that power college football.

At this time, African American athletes comprise more than half of the scholarship players at the Division I college football level. In the professional football ranks, more than 70% of the athletes are African American. As things stand today at the collegiate level then, the 50% black athletes who play college football can expect a 5% chance that their head coach will be African American (six head coaches of the 119 head coach positions). In the National Football League, the 70% black athletes on NFL rosters can expect a 22% chance that their head coach will be African American (seven head coaches of the 32 head coach positions, including interim Mike Singletary).

This particular month (December 2008), the glaring issue of the failure of collegiate programs to hire African American head coaches has come under particular scrutiny. Auburn University drew a cacophony of protest when it hired Gene Chizik to replace Tommy Tuberville, despite Chizik’s extremely poor win/loss record at Iowa State and the “passing over” of Turner Gill who has resurrected a football program at the University of Buffalo (and is African American). Still, Auburn is not alone. High profile head football coach positions at Tennessee, Kansas State, Washington, Iowa State, Syracuse and Mississippi State have been filled by white head coaches, many of them unproven neophytes (Washington, Kansas State and Mississippi State replaced terminated African American head coaches). One writer termed these hiring decisions as a "laugh riot."

Floyd Keith, President of the Black Coaches Association, in exasperation, has begun exploring avenues to sue university administrations under Title VII for intentional race discrimination in hiring. Despite his work in developing the hiring “report card” and in motivating the NCAA to adopt a non-binding “Best Practices” memorandum that, similar to the NFL’s Rooney Rule, asks university administrations to interview at least one minority candidate for each collegiate head football coach opening, Keith remains discouraged at the refusal of NCAA member institutions to diversify the head football coaching profession.

To this reverberating call for change, inclusion, social justice and equal hiring, I would add the following points that have perhaps gone unrecognized during the course of this debate.

First, per William Rhoden’s piece in the New York Times, when asked to name the top five coaches that NFL athletes would most like to play for, four of the top five identified by the players are African American head coaches (i.e., Tony Dungy (1st place); Lovie Smith (2nd place); Herm Edwards (4th place); and Mike Tomlin (5th place)). This suggests several things: (a) when given the opportunity, black head coaches generally excel; (b) 70% of the athletes in the NFL are African American and those athletes clearly prefer playing for an African American head coach (see Rhoden); (c) African American head coaches relate in genuine ways to the modern athlete and take the mentoring role very seriously (see Tony Dungy, Lovie Smith, Turner Gill); (d) of the 32 NFL head coaches, only six at the time of the survey were African American and FOUR were listed in the top five as far as coaches athletes would prefer to play for; and (e) the "black football-playing majority must answer to a predominantly white power structure, which includes team executives and owners." (see Rhoden)

One dispiriting logical conclusion then, for those NCAA university administrators and athletic directors that refuse to hire minority head coaches, is that they are essentially telling their African American student athletes, that the athletes preference to be coached or mentored by an African American head coach is completely unimportant to the goal or mission of the institution. Athletic directors and university administrations, as per the usual, seem so beholden to the booster or the alum (the good old boy network), that what may be in the best interest of the athlete (and the program in the long term), is insignificant or even trivial. Again, Rhoden’s story indicates that African American athletes want to play for an African American head coach. Presumably, a coach that “gets” them, understands their challenges and wants to help them learn to develop both as an athlete and as a man. (see Tony Dungy). Only 5% of NCAA D.1 football programs have hired an African American head coach to mentor their more than 50% African American athletes.

Second, African American head coaches, when they are finally given the opportunity to be a head coach, are usually tasked with resurrecting or turning around failed or moribund organizations (see Tony Dungy—Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Lovie Smith—Chicago Bears; Romeo Crennel—Cleveland Browns; Marvin Lewis—Cincinnati Bengals; Turner Gill—University of Buffalo; Mike Locksley—University of New Mexico, etc.). This is typically not true for many white coaching hires (see Norv Turner—San Diego Chargers; Wade Phillips—Dallas Cowboys; Lane Kiffin—University of Tennessee; Gene Chizik—Auburn University; Urban Meyer—University of Florida etc.). For the white neophyte head coach, a solid underlying program or foundation is often in place allowing quick successes. For the African American head coach, a miraculous turnaround is often the order of the day (only Mike Tomlin’s hire by the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tony Dungy’s hire by the Indianapolis Colts can fairly be characterized as a hire into a solid situation).

Third, the latest trend in hiring head football coaches, the "coach-in-waiting" model, starkly and baldly circumvents both the Rooney Rule in the NFL and the Best Practices Memorandum in the NCAA. Essentially, stable programs like Florida State University, the University of Texas and the Seattle Seahawks, designate an assistant coach on staff, typically white (but not always, see Joker Phillips at Kentucky), that will become the next head coach when the current coach retires. Bobby Bowden will be replaced by Jimbo Fisher at Florida State. Mack Brown will be replaced by Will Muschamp at Texas. Mike Holmgren will watch Jim Mora, Jr., take over when he steps down this offseason. When affirmatively trying to level a playing field, selecting a "coach-in-waiting" simply rejects an equal opportunity hiring process and mocks the spirit of the Rooney Rule and the Best Practices Memorandum.

Fourth, the African American head coach must typically prove his mettle for decades as an assistant and interview for dozens of jobs before being given an opportunity to become a head coach. Tony Dungy was passed over for years before landing the Tampa Bay Buccaneer job. Marvin Lewis interviewed repeatedly for head coach opportunities. Apparently Turner Gill, who interviewed at Syracuse and Auburn this hiring cycle must continue to pay his dues before he will land the coveted BCS program head coach position. For Lane Kiffin, Steve Sarkisian and Gene Chizik, the dues that must be paid appear to be much different and their dues do not cost nearly as much. No matter how an athletic director or university administration justifies that differing cost, it is purely and simply unequal.

A call has been made for a Civil Rights Movement in hiring head football coaches. Apparently, without one, the NCAA and its member institutions will not do the right thing, which is to diversify its coaching ranks.*

* Thanks to Rob Dixon, 3L, West Virginia University College of Law for providing research and insight. Thanks also to Sheila Hassani, 3L, West Virginia University College of Law for research and source material.


Sue the NCAA??????

They don't hire coaches and certainly don't pay them.

While black coaches typical get rebuild jobs, most job openings exist because the last rebuilder failed.

I don't understand the simply bizarre hire at Auburn but I don't understand Syracuse either. Turner Gill was coaching 150 miles away at Buffalo, hitting the same high schools for recruits that should be the core of the Syracuse program.

I suppose the excuse could be Turner Gill was only 1-4 vs. teams above .500 this year. Ironically one of Chiznik's two wins this year came over Kent who beat Gill's Buffalo team but Chiznik was 0-8 vs. the Big XII and didn't face OU, UT or TT.

Blogger Mark -- 12/23/2008 7:37 PM  

You (and every other commentator I've heard discuss the "coach in waiting model") failed to mention that the University of Kentucky has an African-American coach in waiting in Joker Phillips.

Blogger Will -- 12/23/2008 9:38 PM  

thanks will.

i have included joker phillips (revised) in the text of the post.

still, whether the coach-in-waiting is african american or white (and they are overwhelmingly white) the selection of such a coach truly does circumvent the spirit and intent of the rooney rule and the best practices memorandum.

the interview process is so important for exposure. african american coaches that do not get that interview are not getting the exposure that they ordinarily would such that athletic directors and university officials have a chance to know the up and coming coaches.

remember that a head coach position is constantly changing, and if an opportunity does not come up "this time" one may come up quickly. recall that steve mariucci only lasted for 2+ seasons with the detroit lions when matt millen was fined for failing to adhere to the rooney rule.

the interview can be crucial for breaking down (or into) the old boy network, per mike tomlin and his hire at the pittsburgh steelers. coach-in-waiting minimizes the opportunities for exposure. and this is costly, in my view.

Blogger dré cummings -- 12/23/2008 10:14 PM  

This subject makes me laugh every time I read about it. If you combine the number of NFL and NCAA Division I FBS head coaching jobs, you're talking about 150 middle management jobs in a country of over 300 million people (including about 37 million African Americans.) This is hardly a question of "social justice" as the author suggests.

It's particularly hysterical to read, "70% of the athletes in the NFL are African American and those athletes clearly prefer playing for an African American head coach." Wow, talk about naked racism. We all know what would happen if even a single white player said he would prefer playing for a white coach.

Incidentally, the most successful of the African American coaches, Tony Dungy, has won most of his games behind a white quarterback, Peyton Manning. Does Mr. Manning play more or less hard because his coach has a different skin color?

I'd also note that Mike Tomlin, the highly successful Pittsburgh Steelers coach, was hired with only six seasons of NFL coaching experience, including just one at the coordinator level. Nothing wrong with that, of course. But recall the other finalist for the Pittsburgh vacancy in 2007 was Russ Grimm. Mr. Grimm had nearly 15 years of NFL coaching experience at the time and was already on the Pittsburgh staff as Bill Cowher's assistant head coach. Grimm had also been promoted for years as a head coaching candidate -- even losing the Chicago Bears job in 2004 to Lovie Smith.

Now, again, there's nothing wrong with Pittsburgh's decision to bring in Mr. Tomlin over promoting Mr. Grimm. But if Mr. Grimm were black and Mr. Tomlin white, and not vice versa, the "social justice" types would have screamed bloody murder.

Anonymous Rachel Neri -- 12/24/2008 8:42 PM  

I had the good fortune to meet Rooney rule success story Mike Tomlin when he got his second job as an assistant at Arkansas State. If he had stuck around he likely would have been part of the housecleaning when his boss was later terminated.

If were advising young black coaches I'd tell them get to the NFL any way you can and whatever you do stay out of the SWAC and MEAC. In collegiate circles they have a reputation for taking short-cuts and a job there won't advance you easily out of the league.

I wonder sometimes if when AD's gather they spend time hand-wringing over the Louisiana Lafayette situation. Jerry Baldwin was fired after two seasons and sued alleging racial discrimination. Baldwin was 6-27 in three seasons posting the worst three year total of any coach at the school.

In 2001 the Sun Belt had two black coaches Baldwin and Tony Samuel at New Mexico State. Today Mario Cristobal is the only minority coach in the league.

Blogger Mark -- 12/24/2008 8:58 PM  

Rachel Neri-- numbers do not matter, percentages do. Perhaps employing only FIVE PERCENT of a particular group that has been historically and consistently discriminated against in coaching and other employment opportunities is "funny" to you; however, most recognize this extreme disparity in percentages as one of the major problems in collegiate sports. Regardless of the millions of jobs in the United States, as a reader of a sports law blog you probably realize that due to the publicity of sports, the middle manager of a football team , i.e. a head coach, will make headlines and attract exponentially more attention than middle managers or even CEOs at any company. Whether you agree with it or not, sports will continue to be utilized as a means for exposing social issues.

Also, an anomaly such as your Tomlin and Grimm example does not justify the employment practices of the NCAA or NFL. The fact that there even has to be a Rooney Rule is what should make you “laugh”. The fact that you have to FORCE teams to interview a Black coach because they would not otherwise should astound you—not the fact that it is thought of as social injustice.

Back to the percentages, 5% of Black coaches vs. 50% of Black athletes should key you in to one fact--that when it comes to recruiting players, schools do not have a problem with recruiting the best; but when it comes to employing head coaches, schools hire who they are comfortable with and people within their network—not those who are the best.

Finally, you should read the NY Times article referred to by the original post. All players—Black, white, Hispanic, Asian and others—were asked about their coaching preferences. The majority of players voted for Tony Dungy as their top choice. But, seriously, do you know what is really hysterical? You do not have to conduct a survey to ask an athletic director who he or she would rather hire as a head coach, because the answer is in the percentages.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 12/26/2008 12:42 AM  

Black Texas high school football players have a great opportunity to express their views on the issue. They can choose to play for African American head coach Kevin Sumlin at the University of Houston or white head coaches Mack Brown (University of Texas), Mike Sherman (Texas A&M) or Bob Stoopes (Oklahoma).

Southern colleges in the 60s & 70s didn't integrate thier football teams until they started regularly loosing to USC, Michigan, Notre Dame etc. Texas didn't seriously recruit blacks until Barry Switzer's Oklahoma teams started beating it with black Texas born players.

If top black players had chosen to play for Ty Willingham at Notre Dame or Washington (as I thought would happen) then he would still have a job and more colleges would be looking for black head coaches. Black players didn't and so one of the few black head coaches was fired.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 12/26/2008 4:57 PM  

If an African-American freshman physics major harbored a hard and fast preference for studying physics under the tutelage of Affican-American physics professors, he would have to shop around to find a school that met his needs. So why is an African-American football player different?

If these players REALLY prefer to play for an African-American head coach, there are places they can go to school where that will happen - - and if enough of the best players do that then other schools will catch on and become more competitive for that talent pool of players.

The problem here is the way the question is asked and then the answers are interpreted. The players may state a "preference" for many different reasons including a real preference for an African-American head coach. But it is also possible that the preference is marginal at best - - as might be supported by the evidence as to where so many of these players choose to go to school to be coached by non-African Americans.

Hiring practices by US universities regarding head football coaches is embarrassing. It is also hypocritical when those same institutions rail against racism and threaten to take moral stands regarding what and where they will invest their endowment funds in. Those folks deserve a large measure of scorn.

But to put any real value on the preferences of 18-22 year old "student athletes" - many of whom will spend fewer hours in a classroom than they will in football film sessions over a four year tenure - is tenuous at best.

People with true convictions on matters of racism can vote with their feet. These athletes have done just that...

Anonymous The Sports Curmudgeon -- 12/26/2008 10:03 PM  

1. Turner Gill has not done any work that justifies all of this hoopla and a coaching position at one of the upper half SEC Football Schools.

Rooney Rule - It is not needed in the NFL. The teams still hire who they want. It just gives false hope to the man coming in for an interview. Also, if I own a team or am a GM, why can't I hand pick my coach without wasting resources interviewing 10 people?
Jim Haslett's contract had a clause in it that was voided that would have made him head coach if he won 6 games I believe. Using the Rooney rule to terminate that clause was ludicrous.

3. To have more minority head coaches you have to have an influx of minority coordinators with EXPERIENCE. I do not know the numbers, but there are a lot more white coordinators than minority ones. It has to start from the ground up, and that is the reason more minorities are becoming head coaches, not the Rooney Rule.

Blogger Thomas44 -- 12/27/2008 8:30 PM  

Racism exists in our world and is still present in both discrete and obvious forms in the United States. Sports as a snap shot of those societies, reflect that racism. Through the lack of hiring of minority coaches in both the NFL and NCAA, football, as one of the most publicized sports is consistently exercising racism.

Although this racism used to be of the discrete form when there were not as many qualified African American position coaches, assistants and coordinators, now that the sidelines are filled with qualified African American coaches there is no reason other than the systematic effect of racism, that keeps these coaches from advancing to the pinnacle of the coaching ranks . . . the head coach.

This issue is especially disturbing for me as a former Division-I athlete, because the head coaches of these racism programs and conferences are not the ones that recruit the world class African American athletes that yield millions of dollars per season. It is that over-qualified African-American position or assistant coach, or coordinator that is sent into the living rooms of the sometimes single parent home to convince the mother to allow her son to get an education at “our fine university” that won't hire a black man that resembles that blue chip recruit’s father to work as a head coach.

It is perfectly fine for the African American to recruit and train the athletes on the strength and speed necessary for the game, but some how the administrators and athletic directors don't believe that those same African Americans can be the face of the program and mingle with the majority white alumni, boosters and media.

If not racism then tell me what it is? I'm game!

Anonymous Rob -- 12/28/2008 1:26 PM  

While there may be some racism, it exists more at the collegiate level, and more in the south.

As for the NFL, there are 6 minority head coaches, 7 if you count Mike Singletary. I think there are about 10 coordinators that are minorities. Where do you expect to get all these minority candidate from to be HEAD COACHES.
They are just not there. The above ratio seems to be pretty accurate.

There has to be qualified candidates to choose from.

Blogger Thomas44 -- 12/28/2008 2:38 PM  


Ty Willingham did not win one game last season at Washington, and they were competitive in only 2, maybe 3 games the most. He had some talent, he just could not coach.

Players like playing for Dungy because he wins, is a "player's" coach, and is well educated on the game of football. It has very little to do with his skin color. Player go to school to whoever makes them an offer, where they can win, and and better reach the NFL.

Players in the NFL go to teams that, offer a contract, offer them the most money, or where they can win.
If picking a team because of the race of the coach is ever a factor, it is with such a small minority of players.

Blogger Thomas44 -- 12/28/2008 2:50 PM  

I think there's a legitimate "business" reason for the "coach-in-waiting" model. In most cases, you either have an assistant that everybody else wants or you've been grooming for several years. Because that's what most businesses do. You try to keep your promising young stars. And you try to keep your hand-picked successors.

The Green Bay Packers did it with QB Aaron Rodgers. They groomed him, overpaid him as a backup, and promised him the future starting QB job, to keep him around for Brett Favre's eventual retirement, which Favre kept talking about for several years. They were so committed to Rodgers that they didn't back down even when Favre decided to un-retire.

Jason Garrett fits that description too. The Dallas Cowboys have been grooming him for a long time. Then he started getting a lot of offers. So they locked him up by giving him coach-in-waiting status. In Jim Mora Jr's case, Huskies wanted Mora, Mora had said the only reason he'd leave was to be U. Washington's head coach, so the Seahawks made him coach-in-waiting. Same thing with Jimbo Fisher. He's been with FSU for a long time. Keeping him insures continuity in their program. But he'd been getting a lot of other offers.

Ideally, if you've been successful, and you want to remain successful, you naturally want to be able to choose your own successor. At Navy, they went 1-20 until Paul Johnson became head coach. His style of play made them competitive again. When he took the Georgia Tech job, Navy quickly named offensive coordinator Kenny Niumatalolo as his successor. Niumatalolo had limited experience, but mostly with Johnson. He wasn't coach-in-waiting, but the continuity he gave them supports the model. Besides, I'm pretty sure Kenny is the NCAA's first and only Samoan American head coach.

Granted, some teams might use it to circumvent the rules, but there's a legitimate "business" reason for the coach-in-waiting model. You don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Blogger cjsamms -- 12/29/2008 7:20 AM  

I agree that the sports organizations are making strategic business move with the coach in waiting but, although that policy seems neutral on its face it tends to keep blacks from those positions. It also keeps other whites from those positions but whites, regardless of there ability to coach, are not having problems getting head coaching jobs.

As far as available talent, that is bull. If you watch any NFL or College football game you noticed many black non-players on the sidelines. They aren't security guards, cheerleaders, or water boys. Those sidelines are filled with position/assistant coaches and coordinators that are not getting promoted to be head coach.

With the large amount of players at both levels that return to the game after playing it is nonsense to think that there are no talented black coaches available. Also some of the white coaches (Lou Holtz) get opportunities and they never played the game of football. They get to head coach because someone gave them a GA or assistant coach job, then they get “picked” for a head coach position after they jump through the career hoops.

Blacks on the other hand; play the game successfully, get a GA or assistant position, jump through all the career hoops and never get the head coach job because they get “passed over” not “picked.”

Blogger Rob -- 12/29/2008 10:15 AM  

sports curmudgeon:

excellent points.

still, i wonder whether a college athlete that prefers to play for an african american head coach has any real choice as you seem to indicate. just a couple of years ago, only three major division 1 institutions employed an african american head coach (out of 119). so, an athlete that prefers playing for a black head coach had only three choices or areas of the country to go to school.

today, with six collegiate african american head coaches, black athletes that prefer to play for a black head coach can choose to go to school at only buffalo, houston, new mexico, miami (ohio) or miami (florida). is that real choice?

as indicated in an insightful blog post by rob, a former d.1 athlete, most powerful football programs send african american assistant coaches into the homes of star black athletes, trying to convince them to play for the white head coach at their university.

second, in asking high school seniors to "vote with their feet" if you will, are we suggesting that eighteen year olds have more responsibility than the 55 year old mostly white athletic directors or university presidents who refuse to hire black head coaches? is that where the onus should be placed to right a wrong? on the backs of eighteen year old african american athletes, or better at the feet of the grown-up (mostly) white power brokers, who continue to refuse to hire qualified african american assistant coaches as their head coach.

Blogger dré cummings -- 12/29/2008 3:41 PM  

Again I say . . . If not racism then tell me what it is? I'm game!

Blogger Rob -- 12/29/2008 5:31 PM  

Please get a list of all the qualified coaches you think are being screwed over before you state there are many.

Blogger Thomas44 -- 12/30/2008 9:01 AM  

Thomas 44:

There are literally dozens of qualified african american assistant coaches at both the collegiate and professional levels of football. Your comment raises another interesting double standard: the african american candidate that interviews for a head coach position is most always a long time offensive or defensive coordinator. The non-minority candidate can often be a position coach and is not required to have been a long-time coordinator (i.e., John Harbaugh (promoted from special teams coach); Andy Reid (promoted from quarterbacks coach); Bill Stewart (promoted from special teams coach), etc.). Thus, the prerequisite for a minority coach (long time coordinator) is not a prerequisite for a white head coach.

If not racism, then what is it?

Anonymous Anonymous -- 1/01/2009 8:58 AM  

When will someone write about the "disparity" between the numbers of African-Americans in football, basketball, track, etc. compared to the racial makeup of the student population overall at each school ? Can anyone name me some schools, outside of the "traditionally-black" schools like Grambling and Southern, where the makeup of the football, basketball, track, etc. team comes close to the makeup of the school they represent?

Anonymous Anonymous -- 1/05/2009 9:59 AM  


No list needed. Just watch football and watch the sidelines. You will see if you are looking. And the GM's and athletic directors will see too . . . if they are looking.

Blogger Rob -- 1/05/2009 1:41 PM  

I have always thought that being a head football coach is much different than being a head coach of any other sport in college. A head football coach is more like a CEO instead of a coach. The football team has more people, more assistant coaches, more staffers, and more trainers than the other teams. The head football coach probably does much more public relations than any other coach to include back slapping alumni, taking to the media, etc.

One thing you hear about head football coach candidates is that they did not interview well. I have always believe that meant that they do not have the media/public relations skills.

Blogger Superdestroyer -- 1/06/2009 9:21 AM  

Rob and others,

The system may not be perfect, but I still do not see as big of a problem as some people make it out to be. There are tons of coaches that are getting looked over everyday, and frankly, more are white. Look at the long time assistants, from Monte Kiffen to Russ Grimm to Mike Westhoff and the list can go on with real people. "Just look at the sidelines is not an acceptable answer"

The ratio is equal of minority coordinators to head coaches.

If you talk about position coaches making the jump, I think they only get the nod if they are "hot" "very successful" or have accomplished something extraordinary at their position.

Josh McDaniels is 31 years old, a one year OC, but is getting considered because people consider his job with Cassell extraordinary, and if they do not hire him this year someone else will next year.
Hence Mike Tomlin.

Blogger Thomas44 -- 1/07/2009 10:09 AM  

quit driving a wedge between the races people. This goes for ALL of you!

Anonymous Anonymous -- 1/08/2009 12:15 AM  

How many of us really think that university presidents are, en mass, bigots? There's certainly some institutional racism going on (a lack of qualified minority assistants as a consequence of active hiring discrimination 10+ years ago), but active discrimination is not rampant in college coaching hires. And the Rooney Rule only addresses active discrimination.

Also, to call the UNM job "moribund" just shows poor research. Ask Lobo fans what they thought of Rocky Long and compare that to Gator national sentiment toward Ron Zook. New Mexico football, while not a dominant program, is certainly in its golden era.

Blogger Ivory Tower -- 1/25/2009 6:02 PM  

ivory tower:

"moribund" is in the eye of the beholder. following a 4 win 8 loss season, some fans would call their favored program moribund. few would categorize as a "golden era" seasons where their alma mater finished with final records of 4-8 (2008), 6-7 (2006), 6-5 (2005) and 7-5 (2004). that qualifies as moribund in many books.

as for university administration being bigots, you quite easily dismiss this as impossible. i direct your attention to charlie strong (uf) and turner gill (buffalo), who were both told by university insiders that they would never be hired for some head coaching positions based on both men (african american) being married to white women. that sounds bigoted to me.

Blogger dré cummings -- 2/02/2009 5:50 PM  

It seems to me that this blog post is taking the facts gathered by the player survey and reaching a conclusion that is not easily ascertained by the actual results of the survey.

For instance, Cummings states that the results show, "African American head coaches relate in genuine ways to the modern athlete and take the mentoring role very seriously." I do not see, from the survey results, where this is mentioned or comes into play. I suppose you could point to the fact that 4 of the top 5 choices among African American athletes are African Americans. However, of those four choices, two of them also were chosen by white players in their top 5. Does this speak to the mentoring role of the African American coach or does it simply tell us players want to win and would prefer a coach who has shown the ability to win and is also known as a "players" coach.

In fact, when you look at the survey results, Rhoden even points out that "all players agreed on the top 10 most desirable head coaches." Thus, at the end of the day all players, this would include both African American and white players, agree on the SAME TOP 10 coaches they would play for. Then, these "subtle differences" as Rhoden calls them get turned into this all encompassing executive decision on behalf of African American football players. One would think that if there were "genuine" issues here involving the difference amongst coaches based on their race, there would be more of a discrepancy in the results.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 4/15/2009 12:25 PM  

I don't think the survey data holds the weight it is purported to. Looking at that, those are some of the better coaches in the NFL. Of course players want to play for them. Who doesn't want to play for a winner?

On the other hand, it does show the African Americans are successful as coaches. Thought, I do not ever recall hearing someone say that African Americans as a whole would not make it as coaches. Then again, I do not make it a point to hang out in racist safe-harbors

I like the article, and agree with the point. That is, something has obviously gone very wrong in the system of hiring for pro-sport head coaches. I have no solution to the problem, and until the day that race is no longer an issue; the only thing most of us can do is stand in solidarity against hatred.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 4/15/2009 5:09 PM  

why not choose a coach based upon the content of one's character rather than the color of one's skin?

Anonymous Anonymous -- 4/16/2009 7:52 AM  

Excellent points. Continue your good work coaches. To the players congratulations too for having the spirits of a real player.

Anonymous Stylecoach -- 7/07/2009 3:14 AM  

I'm a strong proponent of the Rooney Rule and think that it's paved the way for a great deal of progress in the civil rights arena. I also believe that African American athletes wanting to play for an African American head coach because the coach would 'get' them would be regression and an example of the pendulum swinging too far in the opposite direction. If a Caucasian coach were denied a position because African American players could not "relate" to him it would be an example of reverse racism. The lack of "relating" or "getting" the players would be due to the color of the coach's skin and thus, this coach’s skin color would ultimately be the reason he was denied a position. I believe we need to ensure that the color of one’s skin is not a deterring factor for a coaching position – regardless of what shade that color may be.

Blogger Jonathan Gevas -- 11/12/2012 11:46 PM  

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