Last week, we talked about the NCAA losing 3 of its 6 African-American Head Coaches at the Division 1 Bowl level (119 total head coaching positions). That # now stands at 4 after the University of New Mexico hired new Head Coach Mike Locksley.
Locksley will celebrate his 39th birthday on Christmas and I bet this will be the one he remembers the most. He has paid his dues and built an impressive 17-year coaching resume. Most recently, he served as the Offensive Coordinator for the University of Illinois. During his tenure, Locksley led them to impressive offensive statistics of over 5,000 total yards in ’07, ’08.
Good luck Coach Locksley… we’ll be rooting for you and watching you do your thing in Lobo Country. Click Here to read the University of New Mexico’s official press release.
Each year, there are coaches getting fired and hired at the 119 universities and colleges. The number of African-American Head Coaches will be reduced by 3 after this season as Ty Willingham (Washington), Ron Prince (Kansas St.) and Sylvester Croom (Miss. St.) are leaving their posts. Only Randy Shannon (Miami), Turner Gill (Buffalo) and Kevin Sumlin (Houston) remain. A ridiculous 3 out of 119 Head Coaching positions in major college football are held by African-Americans.
This is a DISGRACE!!!!! A sport that is dominated by more than 50% participation of African-American student-athletes can only show a 2.5% rate of African-American Head Coaches… This is a MAJOR DISGRACE!!!!!
What is the NCAA going to do? How much more can the Black Coaches Association do?
You cannot tell me that there are no qualified African-American Coaches to fill many of these jobs. Many of my personal friends are coaching in the NFL and at the major college level… they aren’t even getting interviews at these schools. They have playing experience (NCAA/NFL) and coaching experience which cannot be denied… so what is the deal???
I’m sure some will look at this and say so what… others will look at it and say that things are changing… I’m of the opinion that the NCAA needs to implement a serious initiative to recruit, develop and staff African-American Head Coaches similiar to what the NFL does with its “Rooney Rule (est. ’03).”
What has happened to this storied franchise which possesses 3 Super Bowl Championships, has 17 inductees in the Hall of Fame and some of the most loyal fans in the NFL? What happened to the organization with a .500 or better winning percentage vs. 26 of the 31 other football teams? What happened to the Oakland Raiders “Commitment To Excellence?”
Our insiders tell us a major problem is the lack of experience of the Head Coach Lane Kiffin. He has stuggled with gaining the respect of his veteran players due to his youth, decision making and perceived aloofness. What has surprised many is his poor communication skills. There have been awkward pregame speaches and other moments that were less than impressive in addressing his team. There’s also been rumors running through the organization that he was quietly interested in going back to the college game. UCLA, LSU and Arkansa were tops on the rumor mill for a few weeks.
The defensive coaches and their position players don’t even watch game film collectively like every other football team (pro, college, high school) in America. Individual breakdowns and meetings of the different positions are stressed in this organization and it shows on gameday. It impossible to be a cohesive unit without assembling in a room and making your calls and checks to insure that everyone is on the same page. The classroom is vital and where teams make their greatest improvements during the course of a week. It’s amazing that they’ve won 4 games this year with this sort of preparation.
The players are not being coached up on the basic fundamentals but are taught to focus mainly on the opponent’s tendancies. This is flawed and has resulted in their players guessing causing them to be out of position leading to big plays.
As has always been the case with the Raiders, the same undisciplined behavior exists with their players. For example, the real story behind Dante Culpepper’s latest injury is that he strained a quad muscle challenging a defensive back to a 100 yard race after practice. Of course it wasn’t a friendly competition but a 5 figure wager that motivated the two would be sprinters. Dante pulled up lame a short distance into the race… this was just days after he had his best game of the year leading the Raiders to a victory over the Kansas City Chiefs.
Just as a fish rots from the head down… so has the once proud Oakland Raiders. Owner Al Davis is calling all the shots and even the plays. To this day, he watches the practice film of his players and has great input to what is being done on gameday. He doesn’t even allow his defense to play zone coverages. The buck stops with Al and he has all the power to change the course of his franchise is he decides to give up his power.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
Collegiate sports is a multi-billion dollar business and the cash cow is football. Its popularity has led to a boom in revenues and next level of TV exposure. You can watch a college football game just about any night of the week… even Sundays.
The tremendous growth of the sport has led to an increase in scrutiny directed at the operations of the NCAA, colleges and universities. One of the biggest critisisms is the shockingly low percentage of African-American Head Coaches. In a sport where half of the players are African-Americans, this fact is alarming and unacceptable.
The Black Coaches Associates (BCA) agrees with Urban Sports Talk’s position. The BCA has been the most vocal organization and in its recent Hiring Report Card the NCAA received an F. Here are the facts:
- The NCAA Division I Football Subdivision (formely known as I-A) is comprised of 119 colleges and universities
- There are more than 10,000 scholarship athletes participating in football in 2007
- 50% of these scholarship athletes are African-Americans
- Of the 119 Head Coaching postions, 6 are held by African-Americans (4%)
- After the 2006 season, there were 23 Head Coaching positions available… only 2 minorities filled those positions
- 31 of 242 Coordinators (Defense/Offense) are African-American (15%)
An African-American Offensive Coordinator (Division III) recently talked openly with us. He shared his frustration with not being able to break into a Division I football program despite his credentials. This coach is a former high school All-American and a starting running back in the NFL. He’s been coaching for 7 years since he retired from professional football. The coach shared, “I’ve been asking the university that I played for if I could come there as a graduate assistant for several years. Each year, they give me some excuse as to why there’s not an opportunity available. I see guys getting those openings all the time and they didn’t even play there.”
- Ty Willingham – University of Washington
- Sylvester Croom – Mississippi State University
- Karl Dorrell – U.C.L.A.
- Ron Price – Kansas State University
- Turner Gill – Buffalo University
- Randy Shannon – University of Miami
Note: Of the top 5 programs with the largest number of African-American coaches, 3 have African-American Head Coaches (Miami (FL) – 6, UCLA – 5, Mississippi St. – 5).