Athletics Innovators: A Special Tribute to the Unsung Heroes and Heroines of College Sports

Article excerpt

Many are familiar with the work of organizations such as Black Coaches and Administrators and the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, which serve as policing organizations to monitor the NCAA's commitment to diversity in hiring as well as athletic programs' commitment to academics, respectively. But rarely is the time taken to salute the unsung heroes and heroines of college sports, who, day in and day out, busy themselves with opening the doors through which others metaphorically run, dribble, catch and score on their way Lo glory, fame and acclaim.

Often, these behind-the-scenes icons are not seeking applause and accolades. Any who stand witness to the positive changes, including unprecedented new opportunities on the diversity front, sincerely appreciate their invaluable contributions to collegiate athletics. Their stellar examples serve as inspiration for the tenacity and fortitude that will be needed in the battles that lie ahead.

Join us as we salute these impactful sports figures who have advocated for and led the charge toward diversity and who have left positive and indelible marks on the world of college sports.

COACHES

NORM CHOW

Head Football Coach

University of Hawaii

Named as the University of Hawaii's 22nd head football coach in 2011, Norm Chow is the first Asian-American head coach of a major college football program.

Chow has a long coaching resume, which includes 39 years of coaching experience collegiately and in the National Football League. Among his 36 years as a collegiate coach, he spent 27 years at Brigham Young, one year at North Carolina State, four years at USC, and three years at UCLA. Chow also spent three years as offensive coordinator for the NFL's Tennessee Titans.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Prior to his arrival at the University of Hawaii, Chow was the offensive coordinator at Utah, where he led the Utes to a runner-up finish in the Pac-12 South Division in 2011 and a 30-27 victory over Georgia Tech in the Sun Bowl.

Chow is a three-time national Assistant Coach of the Year, has served as offensive coordinator for three national championship teams (Brigham Young-1984; USC-2003 and 2004) and has tutored three Heisman Trophy winners (Ty Detmer-BYU, Carson Palmer-USC, and Matt Leinart-USC) and six NFL first-round draft picks (Palmer, Leinart, Philip Rivers-N.C. State, Steve Young-BYU, Jim McMahon-BYU, Marc Wilson-BYU).

CRAIG ROBINSON

Mead Coach

Oregon Stale University

In his fourth season as the head coach of the Oregon State men's basketball team, Craig Robinson led the Beavers to their best season in more than two decades: they won over 20 games for the first time since 1989-90 and posted a winning record for just the second time in school history during the 2011-2012 season.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Under Robinson's watch, several Oregon State players earned Pac-12 All-Academic honors. Prior to joining Oregon State, Robinson spent two years as the head coach at Brown, leading a revival of the Bears program that he guided to a school-record 19 victories in his final season, Robinson won more games (30) in his first two years than any other head coach in Brown basketball history.

Prior to Brown, Robinson worked at Northwestern, where he spent six seasons with the Wildcats. He was an integral part of Northwestern's dramatic turnaround, helping the Wildcats to the most wins in a four-year period in school history at the time, with 57 victories from the 2001-2002 to the 2004-2005 seasons.

A 1983 graduate of Princeton, Robinson is considered one of the top players in Ivy League history. He ranks fourth on Princeton's all-time scoring list with 1,441 points and led the Ivy League in field goal percentage in 1982 (.577) and 1983 (.642).

PAT SUMMITT

Head Coach Emeritus

University of Tennessee

For nearly four decades, the University of Tennessee Lady Volunteers basketball program has been among the nation's elite, due in large part to Pat Summitt, the all-time winningest coach in NCAA basketball history. …