Black head coaches don’t get second chances

 

Penn State head football coach James Franklin reacts to a call in the third quarter of an NCAA college football game against Akron in State College, Pa., Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014. Penn State won 21-3. (AP Photo/York Daily Record, Chris Dunn)
Penn State head football coach James Franklin reacts to a call in the third quarter of an NCAA college football game against Akron in State College, Pa., Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014. Penn State won 21-3. (AP Photo/York Daily Record, Chris Dunn)

As kickoff for the 2015 college football season nears, only 11 of the 128 FBS head coaches are African American – a paltry 8.6 percent.
They are:  James Franklin, Penn State (SEC); Darrell Hazell, Purdue (Big Ten);  Curtis Johnson, Tulane (AAC); Mike London, Virginia (ACC); Derek Mason, Vanderbilt (SEC); Ruffin McNeill, East Carolina (AAC); Trent Miles, Georgia State (Sun Belt); David Shaw, Stanford (Pac 12); Charlie Strong, Texas (Big 12);  Kevin Sumlin (SEC) and Willie Taggert, South Florida (AAC).
According to ESPN figures, when the 2014 FBS football season began 53 percent of players were Black and 42 percent were White.
Yet, more than 90 percent of FBS coaches are White. Those numbers don’t add up, do they?
Of course, the situation could be worse. There were four Black head coaches at the Division 1 level (now called FBS) in 1994. Over the next eight years, dozens of men were hired to run college football programs and in 2002 – there were four African-American head coaches.
By 2008, there had been a dramatic increase to a total of five Black head coaches.
Between January 2011 and January 2012, six Black head coaches were hired, bringing the grand total to 15 at the start of the 2012 season.
This all-time high has now drifted backward, and former San Jose State head coach Dr. Fitz Hill knows why. After he was dismissed from his post with a 14-33 overall record after the 2004 season, he continued his research on the respective fates of other Black coaches. He concluded that Black coaches rarely got a second opportunity to be a head coach.
According to his statistics, 28 Black head coaches have been fired or forced to resign – usually because of losing records. In each case, the school then hired a White coach as his successor
In fact, only one Black coach has resurfaced as head coach at a major program after being fired. Tyrone Willingham was fired at Notre Dame and was then hired by the University of Washington – and this was more than a decade ago.
Says Hill in a Daily Beast interview: “Race will no longer be an issue when the day comes that an African-American football coach is unsuccessful, but you still go and replace him with another African-American football coach.”
Black head coaches “deserve second and third chances” – like their White counterparts.
John Embree was one of those Black head coaches on the sidelines in 2011 at Colorado. He was fired during his third season with a 4-21 record.
“We don’t get second chances,” he said at the time of his termination. Embree had played for former Colorado head coach Bill McCartney who said in 2012 Black coaches “have a more difficult road to tread.”
While wins and losses are the cause for a coaching change the overwhelming majority of the time, it can also be argued that Black coaches are held to a higher off-field standard.
Last week, USC coach Steve Sarkisian coach made a fool of himself and his school by taking the stage while apparently hammered drunk during the annual Salute to Troy pep rally. His tirade included profanity and insults to other Pac 12 schools. It was so disgusting that Pat Haden, USC athletic director, had to drag him off the stage.
Sarkisian has been fined and reprimanded by his school and the Pac 12 – yet there has been no call to fire him.
In 2013, Eastern Michigan coach head Ron English, who is Black, was fired after he reportedly used “inappropriate language” that included a homophobic slur during a film session with defensive backs.
His tirade was recorded, and when it came to light a month later he was fired.
Eastern Michigan athletic director Heather Lyke said, “my decision to make a change in leadership of our football program was the culmination of a lot of factors including the comprehensive review of our program, the competitive performance and this tape.”
Had English had a better overall record than 11-46 he probably would have kept his job. Had Sarkisian (9-4) been Black and pulled the same stunt he did last week in L.A., my guess is he would be looking for a new job.
Alvin Reid is a panelist on the news discussion show “Donnybrook” on KETC Channel 9, and is also an author and radio commentator.
http://www.stlamerican.com/sports/sports_columnists/sports_eye/article_00d64010-4c4b-11e5-9045-57588bb5b35c.html

Comments

From the Web