Progress Slow for Minority Football Coaches

Article excerpt

EAST LANSING, MICH.

Despite some recent high-profile hirings, progress has been slow for minority football coaches at universities, according to participants in a conference at Michigan State University.

Among Division I-A schools, there have been 348 head football coaching vacancies since 1982, but only 19 Blacks hired to fill those positions, San Jose State football coach Fitz Hill said at the conference last month.

Hill is one of just four Black head football coaches among the 115 Division I-A teams, despite the fact that half of the players are Black. Hill is doing doctoral research on minority coaches (see Black Issues April 11, 2002).

"People said I was crazy to take the job at San Jose State, a place that hadn't won in 10 years," Hill told the Lansing State Journal. "I said, `Ohio State isn't going to hire me!' You can't win the lottery if you don't play."

The statistics don't improve much at the professional level. In the National Football League,just two of the 32 head coaches are minority members.

"Something's wrong. It's out of balance," says Michigan State Athletic Director Clarence Underwood, who is Black. "We are trying to find people with the courage to speak their convictions, and to see what kinds of solutions they might propose. …