Saturday, November 19, 2016

NFL minority head coaches unsatisfied with slow progress in college game

HOUSTON, Texas -- Diversity in coaching has become a less urgent concern in the NFL the last decade, but pro coaches remain bullish about increasing the number of minority head coaches in college football.

Currently there are 14 black head coaches in the Football Bowl Subdivision, the elite tier of collegiate athletics, which is 10.9 percent of all head coaches, according to The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida. That percentage more than doubled from 2008, but it has not changed much since 2010, despite having majority black players for many years.

"When there's a struggle in something that's this big, it takes awhile," said Lovie Smith, who was a head coach for 11 seasons in the NFL before taking over at the University of Illinois this year.

RELATED: State of Texas has four black coaches at colleges highest level but room to grow

Smith speaks from a lot of experience. He grew up in Big Sandy, Texas, where his school did not integrate until he reached the 5th grade, and became the first black head coach to lead a team to the Super Bowl. Coincidentally, he shared the milestone with his opponent in Super Bowl XLI, Tony Dungy. Their pioneering matchup routinely is cited for inspiring minority coaches at all levels.

"It definitely had an impact on raising awareness in the hiring process, but more than that it had an impact in the encouragement and the motivation of young coaches. I can speak to that myself," said Dungy, a head coach for 13 seasons with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Indianapolis Colts. "It was something they thought they would never see."


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