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Newz Forum: FOOTBALL: COLLEGE: Willingham's Firing Dismays Black Coaches

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posted on Dec, 1 2004 @ 08:39 AM
It took less than a week for the grumblings about diversity and the number of black coaches in college football. Willingham's firing was the 3rd Division I-A black coach to end his tenure as coach. Fitz Hill resigned from San Jose State on Nov. 22 and New Mexico State fired Tony Samuel on Nov. 24. Some believe that this shows a message that you cannot make it as a head coach if you are black. Also some feel that discrimination is still running rampant still in our society.

Associated Press
INDIANAPOLIS - When Notre Dame selected Tyrone Willingham as its head coach three years ago, Richard Lapchick called it the most important hire in college football history. Lapchick, head of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida, believes Willingham's firing Tuesday - coupled with the departure of two other black coaches in the last eight days - sends a different message.

"I've heard a lot of white head coaches say when they're hired, 'I knew if I worked hard and prepared hard and produced good football players, I'd get a chance to be a head coach,'" Lapchick said. "African-Americans don't have that same dream. It's a dream deferred."

The recent moves leave only two black head coaches in place for next season in Division I-A football: Karl Dorrell at UCLA and Sylvester Croom at Mississippi State.

These people are kidding, right? They really think that everytime a black coach is fired or quits its because he/she is black? What about the fact that they just are not very good? Some people are not cut out to be the coach.

Oh yeah, when they count the number of black coaches in DI-AA, the historically black institutions such as Grambling are excluded. Talk about a double standard. What about white coaches at black schools? Where are the figures on that?

Dave Wannstedt resigned and Butch Davis was fired this year from the NFL. More DI-A coaches are being fired as I write this newz, Indiana University - Gerry DiNardo, Brigham Young - Gary Crowton. Firings are normal. Why does there need to be a big stink about it?

This was mentioned in the article:
Lapchick can accept that Notre Dame thought Willingham wasn't the right person for the job. But he yearns for the day in which coaching moves in college and pro football are viewed the same way they are in college and pro basketball — without regard to race.

"We have to get to a point where people not only don't notice race when you're hired but also when you're fired," he said. "We're a long, long way from that."

Hmm, seems to me that if you did not bring it up, we would not be worried about the number of black coaches in sports. We would all be out looking for the next best coach for our team, no matter race.

I long for a day when people are hired and fired based on their ability to do the job.

It goes on ... Lapchick said opportunities for black coaches often seem to come at schools that lack winning traditions. A study he did this year showed that the median rank of the five schools with black coaches was 77th out of 117.

Ever thought that the black coaches were hired to make the programs better? And either they just don't have the players to do it, the recruiting to do it, or they are just not good coaches? If you take a coach of a non-white race, put them in a school that is not very good, they turn it around and produce several winning seasons, they will be getting job offers from the more prominent schools. These big-time schools don't hire a coach because they are white. They hire them because they think they are the best for the job. Period. End of story.

posted on Dec, 1 2004 @ 07:32 PM
This is a more complex issue than it first appears to be. I don't claim to have all or maybe even any answers. But if you think that race nevers plays a part in hiring or firing, in football or elsewhere, I think you are being naive.

We all like to think that this is the "Land of the Free" and all that stuff, where hard work and determination pays off. Well, sometimes it does and sometimes people get screwed over; and sometimes people get scewed over because they're not white or because they're black.

I hear people complaiing about affirmative action and how its not fair to non-minorities. From where I sit, I see all sorts of white kids (the same ones moaning about affirmative action) getting jobs because they're connected or their father knows somebody at city hall or their uncle went to school with so and so. It's not like that for everyone - not everyone has that kind of wealth or connection or influence.

The older I get the more I see that it is not what you know or what you've done - but who you know and whose your daddy. Same principle applies. The best guy doesn't always win and the best guy doesn't always get the job. It shouldn't be that way but that's the way it is.

I don't know if Willlingham got fired because he was doing a lousy job or because he was black or for some other reason. It does look as though he wasn't given a decent shot and that is too bad becuase he seems like a talented, hardworking, decent guy.


posted on Dec, 1 2004 @ 08:14 PM
NO offense to anybody who is out there, but i think that this is totally out of line, African Americans have no right in stating this, it is if you can cut it out in that certain feild and its obvious that they cant cut it out, if they could they would be able to hold that job but they arnt producing so thus they are fired, it is just like any other coaching position. If you win you stay you lose your out, African Americans are being too stubborn right now.

posted on Dec, 1 2004 @ 08:59 PM
Yeah. You might even say they'se actin' a might uppity!

posted on Dec, 1 2004 @ 09:43 PM
I do agree that Willingham did not have enough time to get his own recruits in there. Unfortunately I do not know which players he brought in, but more than likely a majority of them were from Davies. There is also the players buying into a given coaching style.

Some programs have a history of doing thing one way, and the coach might have different ideas, and the players are not giving 100% since they are not doing what they thought they were going to be doing.

Thats where college is tough, you can't just go out an get a new free agent or make a trade for players that you know will fit into your system.

I doubt Willingham will be out of a job long. I think he is a good coach. I hear Washington is interested. The question I have is, how big of a stink will be raised if Gibbs is replaced with Willingham?


posted on Dec, 2 2004 @ 12:26 PM
1. Gibbs shouldnt be replaced because of one bad season, its his first year back in how many years?

2. Just because an African American coach is fired means now the ND is a racist college agaisnt Afrian American's. I read in the Paper the Willingham knows that he was going to be fired, because he didnt meat the expectations of the College, and that is what happens when you cant meet these expectations. It seems that the Black Coaches are mad over nothing, Its stupid and its just another move for publicity.

posted on Dec, 2 2004 @ 09:48 PM
Gibbs is part of this bring back the old guys. What was once a winning formula for guys like Gibbs and Vermeil over at KC just doesn't work. When FL won the world Series a couple of years ago with that old guy, eveyone started thinking, hey, yeah, old school, the old ways, fundamentals. Sorry guys - just doesn't play anymore. That's why Gibbs should go - he will not succeed.

Am I wrong in saying that this is the 1st time ND fired a coach mid-contract? Notre Dame suffers from thinking that it is still supposed to be a mighty football power. Guess what? It's not and most likely never will be again. Unless it gets lucky and gets a FLutie-like player like Bosotn College did, it will remain mired in mediocrity regardless of who the cosch is. Schools like ND and BC just cannot compete with the bigboys anymore. They could once upn a time but that was the past.

I still think Willingham got a raw deal. At least let him coach out a full cycle. I do not think that it is a stupid issue or has anything to do with publicity. When you have spent a long time being put down you start to smell a rat before anyone else. I smell one too.

[Edited on 12/2/04 by MingMercil]

posted on Dec, 3 2004 @ 04:00 PM
You gotta give Gibbs time before you say he has to go. And a GM. vinny Cerratto is the prblem in DC, followed closely by Dan Snyder. If there was a true GM in the program, they would have told Joe that Brunell wan't the answer that he was looking for, and the season would have turned out better. Probably not playoffs, but at least close to .500. (That just might be playoffs in the NFC anyway...)

posted on Dec, 3 2004 @ 08:23 PM
Wait a minute, Gibbs! Are you related to the 'Skins coach? No wonder you always have such good info!

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