Sunday, February 22, 2009

Dungy To Colleges: Ignore Boosters, Hire 'Best' Coach

TAMPA - Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Tony Dungy, in a New York Times op-ed piece, is asking college athletic directors to ignore pressure from alumni and boosters and hire the best coaching candidates "regardless of race." Dungy's article, headlined "Diversity Everywhere But the Sidelines," came out Thursday, the same day the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport gave college athletics its lowest grade for diversity hiring practices of any sport researched.

Dungy wrote that college head coaches and athletic directors told him last spring that the biggest reason only seven of 120 major college football programs had black head coaches has to do with "other people associated with the universities." "It was not just the president and the athletic director who made the hiring decisions — alumni and boosters were involved, and the presidents often felt pressure to hire coaches the boosters would support," wrote Dungy, who led the Indianapolis Colts to a Super Bowl title in 2006-07 and retired this year.

Dungy wrote that over the past decade he had been contacted by several universities looking for head coaches and seeking recommendations. None of his recommendations – including Mike Tomlin, who recently led the Pittsburgh Steelers to a Super Bowl title – were hired. "Shouldn't minority students be able to see role models of diverse leadership at the college level?" Dungy wrote. "How long should we give a pass to these institutions that should be at the forefront of diversity?"


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