Minority coaches, time for a change


Jason Ryan, Staff Writer

Diversity is the state of having people from many different races or who have different backgrounds in a group or organization.

NCAA and professional sports teams have become more diverse over the past couple of decades. The standard used to be a white male in coaching and management positions, but today there are blacks and women throughout the workforce. This change shows how far sports and society has come. Years from now society will think it’s foolish that we waited this long for change.

There are two sides to the issue of minority coaches in sports. Some are for the idea of mandatory interviewing and hiring of minority coaches while others think this reduces the chance for other qualified coaches.

Most all college and professional teams care about is winning.

It shouldn’t matter if the coach is white, black, or green if there are bringing success to a franchise then everything else should be thrown out the window. The National Football League is one league that is all for the idea of interviewing and hiring minority coaches. In 2003, the NFL implemented the Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview minority coaches for head coaching and senior football operations (www.tampabay.com).

The Rooney Rule is sports best example of how they are trying to give different races chances to compete with everyone else applying for an open position. Richard Lapchick, director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida said this of the rule, “It’s been enormously successful. The success of those coaches has been the proof. There has been an African-American coach or general manager in four of the past five Super Bowls.”

This proves the Rooney Rule is bringing success to candidates who may have been overlooked in the past. At the professional level the interviewing and hiring of minority coaches has brought those franchises success, which can be credited to change.

The other side of the coin is those against the diversity that’s minority coaching.

These people feel that things like the Rooney Rule and forced interviews take away from those who are better qualified. The minority coaches are candidates for a job just because they are different, while a white coach who has more experience and would be a better fit might miss out on the opportunity. The idea is to be fair to everyone, but the people who are the norm are behind the eight ball so to speak.

Grambling State and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers executive Doug Williams said this, “There are probably some owners who aren’t that comfortable having someone a little different making decisions for the organization and sitting next to them in the box during games, but it’s getting better.”

As an owner of a franchise it’s your right to hire who you want. If you don’t trust someone but the league forces you to interview or hire him or her it’s setting the team up for a disaster.

On the collegiate level the NCAA struggles with getting minorities in upper management positions. A decade ago, African Americans held four percent of the 120 head coaching positions at college football’s highest level, but it has risen to more than ten percent (www.thedailybeast).

Though the number is rising it’s still disturbingly low. This is probably credited to their lack of winning records and success in bowl games. Minorities have held jobs at prestigious programs like Notre Dame, but ran the team into the ground. At such an iconic collegiate program it demands success, and if one person can’t produce that they will most likely not give another one a chance. It should be an owners or administrations choice if they want to interview or hire a minority coach, it shouldn’t be forced upon them.

Minority coaches bring diversity to the head coach positions in collegiate and professional sports. In the three major sports the numbers of minority coaches is rising, but still rather low. The MLB has eleven percent, the NFL has twelve percent, and the NBA has forty percent (www.bleachereport.com).

In the two highest revenue grossing sports in the NCAA, basketball and football have ten and twenty-two percent respectively (www.bleachereport.com). The Rooney Rule in the NFL shows that there are a lot of people for the idea of interviewing and hiring minority candidates for job openings. This shows that a professional league wants to give everyone a chance no matter their background.

Others feel that teams and leagues are forcing ownership and the administrations to interview or hire minority coaches just because they are different. These coaches need to be qualified and shouldn’t just be gifted an interview. The idea of minority coaches is something that was foreign decades ago, but is becoming more common today. In the end if they can put wins on the schedule for a professional franchise or collegiate program that’s all that should really matter. Minority coaches photo