13 coaching vacancies yield one black hire

Posted: Tuesday, January 15, 2002

INDIANAPOLIS -- When 13 college football coaching positions opened, the Black Coaches Association believed it had an opportunity to make a difference.

But after mailing information on more than 50 candidates and contacting each school with an opening, the BCA was surprised when only one black coach -- Tyrone Willingham -- was hired.

On Monday, the BCA expressed its dismay during the last full day of the NCAA convention.

''One of the arguments we continued to hear was that we would certainly have entertained interviewing someone if we had known about them,'' said Floyd Keith, executive director of the BCA. ''So we sent a list to every Division I-A president and athletic director. If you're doing your homework, you would research that list.''

Keith was joined at the news conference by representatives of the Minority Opportunities Athletics Association and the Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee.

The group leaders said they were not satisfied with the results of the BCA's effort to promote black coaches.

Willingham, who moved from Stanford to Notre Dame, was the only black coach hired. He was replaced at Stanford by former Florida assistant Buddy Teevens, who is white.

In addition, one other black coach -- Louisiana-Lafayette's Jerry Baldwin was fired after going 6-27 in three seasons.

That leaves only four black head coaches -- Willingham, Michigan State's Bobby Williams, San Jose State's Fitz Hill and New Mexico State's Tony Samuel -- among major college's 115 programs.

Keith also alluded to a couple of hirings that troubled him.

''We are disappointed that individuals are getting second and third chances and that some are coming from the XFL and the junior college ranks,'' he said.

Last week, Indiana hired Gerry DiNardo, who coached for nine seasons at LSU and Vanderbilt before spending last season with Birmingham of the XFL.

In December, San Diego State hired Tom Craft, hours after he announced his withdrawal because ''he wasn't 100 percent excited about the commitment it would take.'' Craft was the head coach at Palomar Junior College, which is in northern San Diego County.

San Diego State did interview Denver Broncos wide receivers coach Karl Dorrell, who is black.

Indiana athletic director Michael McNeely said he considered black coaches during the search, but said none were among the handful of people interviewed for the job.

''We evaluated hundreds of candidates and gave preference to those with coordinating experience or head coaching experience,'' McNeely said. ''At the end of the day, our goal was to find someone who could lead our program. We think we have a top quality coach.''

According to figures released by the BCA on Monday, the 3.5 percent of black head coaches in Division I-A football declines even more when Division I-AA, Division II and Division III are added.

Excluding historically black institutions, Keith said, only 14 of 547 head football coaches are black. The NCAA said that entering last season, 16 Division I-AA coaches were black, but that figure included historically black institutions. The NCAA said it had no figures for Division II or Division III.

If there are not changes, Keith said the organizations may resort to using ''political influence and financial concerns'' to bring about change. None of the leaders would elaborate on specific tactics they might employ.

''Whether congressional or legal intervention is needed, those are things we would consider,'' said Stan Johnson, executive director of the MOAA.

Keith said his organization also intends to offer an invitation to all Division I-A athletic directors and presidents to attend the BCA national convention in May in Indianapolis. Keith said his organization would also attempt to bring in the candidates on its list, so they could meet face-to-face with the university leaders.

None of the representatives criticized the NCAA, which it said has ''bent over backwards'' to try and help with the issue of minority hiring.

But they made it clear they want to see changes from institutions.

''We've been asking these questions for 13 years,'' Eugene Marshall said. ''It's time the questions begin to come from the public, from the alumni and from the student-athletes.''



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