March 13, 2007

Black coaches deserve more opportunities

Why put up an editorial package about the lack of black coaches in college football during the heat of college basketball tournament madness?

Because there's no wrong time to address a serious issue affecting the game. There's no wrong time to shine a light on a major problem.

Here's the deal, plain and simple: There are too few black coaches in college football. Not just head coaches, but black coaches in general at all levels.

Six head coaches out of 119 schools. That's just 5 percent. But the issue isn't only at the top. It's at the entry level, too, in the form of full-time assistants and graduate assistants.

The college game needs more black coaches, meaning there needs to be more black coaches being groomed for those jobs. While the vast majority of Division I-A college football players are black, the vast majority of assistants are white.

I spoke to Floyd Keith, the executive director of the Black Coaches Association, a couple of weeks ago. I also recently spoke to Tim Brewster, the new head football coach at Minnesota. Brewster has filled his staff of nine with six minority hires.

For Brewster, it's about providing the University of Minnesota the best opportunity to win, while also providing valuable role models for his players.

For Keith, it's different. He's a strong advocate for a cause that needs and deserves to be heard. Keith used his career as an example of what he thinks others face today.

"I've been on 17 interviews," Keith said. "I'd say about a third of them were serious, a third of them there were better candidates than me. Then, the last third, let's face it - I was window dressing."

For our part at, we've tried to look at this subject objectively. We tried to write articles that give you a glimpse of a situation that needs a light shone on it regularly.

As Keith said, "Let's take the issue to the court of public opinion. We don't have the Rooney Rule in the NCAA. Let's let the people decide what is right and what's not."

Bobby Burton is editor-in-chief of He can be reached at

More from our package:
Complete package: Black coaches proving they are more than just good recruiters
For recruits, how big a consideration is a coach's race? It's not just a black and white issue.
Tim Brewster took unique approach when filling out Minnesota staff
On the horizon: Dozens of black assistants have potential to be head coaches
Ahead of the game: NFL more proactive than colleges regarding minority hiring

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