Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Defining Moments

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Defining Moments

Article excerpt

It's hard to believe that it's been a year since we signed off for the holidays, but 26 editions later here we are again.

This is the edition where we typically look back over the year's events as they pertain to diversity and higher education.

Although not directly related to higher education, history was made early in the year when two Black coaches, Tony Dungy and one of his proteges, Lovie Smith, squared off in Super Bowl XLI when the Indianapolis Colts and Chicago Bears played in the NFL's biggest game. Prior to that, no Black coach had ever taken a team to the Super Bowl. But keep in mind that in 2006 there was a record seven Black NFL coaches.

We often report on the lack of minority coaches in the college ranks, so Dungy's and Smith's presence in the Super Bowl was a defining moment for many players and coaches and aspiring coaches.

Said Dungy leading up to the big game: "I've been thinking about my generation of kids who watched Super Bowls and never really saw African-American coaches and didn't think about the fact that you could be a coach. Hopefully, young kids now will say, 'Hey, I might be the coach some day.' That's special."

Basking in the glow of minority achievement didn't last long as popular but often controversial radio host Don Imus more than ruffled a few feathers when he called members of the Rutgers women's basketball team "nappy headed hos" on his nationally syndicated program. The outcry was extraordinary. The National Association of Black Journalists was one of the first organizations to call for his ouster.

But a tragic turn of events would temporarily bump Imus from the media's radar when a student gunman opened fire a few hours away from here on the Virginia Tech campus in Blacksburg. I still remember that day, watching the TV news reports and every few minutes the number of casualties reported increased. …

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