Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Air Force Coach under Fire for Comments on Minority Players

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Air Force Coach under Fire for Comments on Minority Players

Article excerpt

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.

Air Force Academy head football coach Fisher DeBerry, expressing frustration after a recent 48-10 loss to Texas Christian University, attributed the loss in part to TCU's having more "Afro-American" players who "can run very, very well."

DeBerry, in his 22nd year at the academy, mentioned the team's lack of minority players during an interview with The Gazette of Colorado Springs two days after the loss. He said Air Force needed to recruit faster players. "We were looking at things, like you don't see many minority athletes in our program," DeBerry told the paper.

The next day, during a question-and-answer session at his weekly luncheon, the coach didn't hesitate to elaborate.

"It just seems to be that way, that Afro-American kids can run very, very well. That doesn't mean that Caucasian kids and other descents can't run, but it's very obvious to me they run extremely well," DeBerry said.

Days after the comments, DeBerry was reprimanded by Lt. Gen. John F. Regni, superintendent of the academy, but was not fired.

DeBerry, 67, is the winningest coach in service academy history with an overall record of 161-94-1. This season, though, the Falcons are struggling. DeBerry is facing the prospect of consecutive losing seasons for the first time since becoming coach in 1984. …

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