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‘Bout Time: Franklin-Phillips First SEC Matchup Of Black Football Coaches

Saturday will mark a first in the 78-year history of the SEC.  When Vanderbilt’s James Franklin and Kentucky’s Joker Phillips meet in Nashville it will be the league’s first ever matchup between black head football coaches.

The SEC had never even had a black football coach until Sylvester Croom was hired by Mississippi State in 2004.

Not to walk too far down a controversial road, but when more than 50% of college football players are black, it seems a wee bit odd that only 17 of the 120 head coaching jobs in the country (14%) are held by black coaches.

For now, most college presidents and athletic directors are white and people in power tend to hire people who are like themselves.  But hopefully things will continue to improve on this front.

Either way, Saturday’s Kentucky-Vanderbilt game will feature another barrier being knocked down.

 


31 comments
Jamie Thornton
Jamie Thornton

The best days will be when we don't even have articles like these. Or we don't even make an issue about what color that they are. The best days will be when the best guy gets the job. Black, white, red, yellow, or orange. It just be about two coaches that have their programs going in the right direction. Not the fact it's two black coaches.

Milo Moon
Milo Moon

I have said from the beginning that you will see a increase in the rate of hiring black coaches when it stops becoming and issue to fire a black coach. It was the same way in the NFL. Once people stopped raising concern about a black coach being on the hot seat or being fired, the owners were more willing on taking a chance on a black head coach. You are seeing the start of the same trend in college. You had Willingham with ND and Washington. Lockley at UNM, Croom at MSU, Dorrell at UCLA and Prince at KSU and Shannon at Miami. When this last round of coaches were fired, you did not have Sharpton and crew showing up grandstanding on campus or in the press. They were fired just like a white coach. Since that round of firings, the number of coaches has increase from 4 to 17 over the last couple of years. Athletic Directors and Presidents know that if they hire a black coach that they will be able to judge the on the same criteria as a white coach and fire him just like a white coach without back lash. They know that they will not have to hang onto them for an extra year or two just to make sure that they were given a fair chance. 1-2 years in college football can mean a lot of money and can be the difference between balancing the budget or having to cancel a sport. Knowing that there is equality in firing, will bring about an increase in equality in hiring. I think you will continue to see the number of minority coaches increase to a point it will no longer be an issue.

PNB
PNB

Until you posted I hadn't even noticed that 2 black coaches were going against each other this weekend. Seems like to me that is not important anymore. Vandy and UK both need wins to try to keep bowl hopes alive. Go 'Dores

Fayettechill14
Fayettechill14

Hate to point out the elephant in the room, but:

Ron Prince
John Embree
Karl Dorrell
Ty Willingham
Mike Locksley
Sylvester Croom
Randy Shannon
Turner Gill

have not been very successful, all being fired or on the hot seat since 2007. There are always exceptions, like Sumlin at Houston, but for whatever reason black coaches haven't found as much success in the college ranks compared to the NFL. I'm sure there are reasons: there are definitely reasons that you don't see white cornerbacks as well. Not trying to be racist that's just how it is.

Best wishes to Franklin, who has clearly made progress, and to Joker, who the jury is still out on.

John
John

rattlergator...

On this site we try to bring people news and notes from around the SEC, but we also give our opinions. Our opinions are sometimes offshoots from the topic of the original story.

thanks,
John

Statesman
Statesman

John I admire your courage in covering this topic. Bryan's& GeoffDawg comment aboveare confusing and amusing. I am not sure how the overall male vs. black male grad rates entered the topic, since most if not all coaches are former college players. Charlie Weis is an exception and not the rule, so your 50% of players are black is the correct population base. GeoffDawg is confusing affirmative action and quotas. They are different but space limits the explanation. I think the coaches in the game is another illustration of the SEC being ahead of the competing conferences in many ways. No othe BCS-conference can make this claim.

RattlerGator
RattlerGator

John, you might have been better served when noting this "first" to give us a bit more of the context contained in the linked article. Unfortunately, your post seems to have a different flavor than the article -- unintentional, no doubt, but the comments you've received appear to support my point.

This rarity is symptomatic of a national fact of life, from the Ivy League to the A.Q. leagues.

John
John

David...

Sorry if in the midst of typing a thousand words today I typed Lexington instead of Nashville.

My bad. All my fault.

I'll slit my wrists for you if that'll make you stop all-caps'ing and using multiple exclamation points.

JOHN!!!!!!!!!!!!

AUFAMILY
AUFAMILY

James Franklin has to be at least three-fouths white.

DAVID
DAVID

THE GAME IS NOT IN LEXINGTON
GET IT RIGHT!!!!!!

utvols420
utvols420

I didn't know james franklin was black

Mike
Mike

John says;

"Not to walk too far down a controversial road, but when more than 50% of college football players are black, it seems a wee bit odd that only 17 of the 120 head coaching jobs in the country (14%) are held by black coaches."

Actually, affirmative action would force us to believe that it is odd that 50% of the college football players are black. Black representation in the populace is only about 13%, so if 50% of all players are black, then something MUST be wrong!

Finally, like bryan states, the population as a whole is 13% black, so 14% representation by black head coaches is not really off kilter.

bryan
bryan

Instead of celebrating a historical event you want to sling mud about race. Who cares that over 50% of players are black. This is the same line that jesse and al like to throw out. According to you , 14% of coaches are black. Whats the black population in the USA? About 13% last I checked. How many white kids go thru all levels of college , division 1 , 2, etc. and go into coaching compared to blacks? The disparity between male black and white college grads is staggering. So 14% of black coaches is quite remarkable.

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

Jamie Thornton...

I happen to agree with the sentiment, but a site covering the SEC has to give five quick paragraphs of attention to a first in league history. Unfortunately, you can't even mention it without people becoming upset. And I believe that fact tells us quite a bit in itself.

As always, thanks for reading,
John

dcpowergator
dcpowergator

the "reasons" are quite simple. black head coaches have generally gotten crappy jobs so they get fired quickly. granted, there are the gigantic exceptions like willingham and black zook (shannon) but generally black head coaches have taken crappy jobs because those jobs are better than none. is it any coincidence that the two black SEC coaches lead the historically worst programs in the conference? and the only other one prior to that was at mississippi state?

Fayettechill14
Fayettechill14

Plenty. But a MUCH smaller ratio when you consider that 10% of FBS coaches 2007-2011 were/are black and THAT many have been fired on put on the hot seat.

That said, I believe that current Arkansas OC Garrick McGee is going to be a great one. If you caught the Depth Chart series at Arkansas hopefully you took in how good of a coach he'll be. I like Franklin as well.

Milo Moon
Milo Moon

care to list all of the white coaches that are on the hot seat and been fired in the last 4 years?

Josh
Josh

Statesman,

Did you miss the part about the extraordinary percentage of players that are black versus the population?

Does that mean white people are being discriminated against? No. It means black people are better football players. So how about this little bit of politically incorrect reasoning: MAYBE WHITE PEOPLE ARE BETTER COACHES.

GeoffDawg
GeoffDawg

I'm not confused Statesman although it may be over your head. I'll talking about the issue of race in sports being overblown and still relevant because the flames of discontent keep getting fanned. By the way, quotas follow affirmative action. Glad you're easily amused.

Mike
Mike

Gosh, I just thought he is one helluva coach! I like his enthusiasm, his willingness to gamble and his play calling. He is an up and coming head coach!

Vol Nittany
Vol Nittany

Alot of people cared about the color of the football player up until 1971. This site is called MrSEC.com, so if there is a story angle about the conference, even if it disagrees with your political outlook, my guess is that they are going to make note of it.

johnmrsec
johnmrsec

bryan...

Where did I sling mud?

Wow. Pretty angry there, Bryan.

John

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

There is some truth to your point, but that argument has always been overstated. Ty Willingham got the Notre Dame job which at the time was considered the crown jewel of college coaching. When he got fired there(and I believe he was fired too soon by the way) he got another job at Washington which has usually been a competitive Pac 12 team until the last 15 years or so.

John Blake got the Oklahoma job and didn't fare too well. Stoops took over that team and won a national title within 2 years. You mentioned Shannon at Miami and he kind of flamed out although I'm not sure that's really his fault. It remains to be seen whether or not Miami has still got the stuff to compete in big time college football.

Karl Dorrell got the UCLA job and they were considered a national championship contender up until the late 90s. Bobby Williams took over for Saban at Michigan St which is not a national power, but not a crappy job by any means either. Kansas St was not a crappy job for Ron Prince either as Bill Snyder proved one could be competitive there.

This is debatable, but Kevin Sumlin(Houston) and Ruffin McNeill(East Carolina) have notable non AQ jobs and Houston in particular has a shot at being another Boise St type program.

Mike London is the coach at UVA and while that's not a great job, I wouldn't say that it is a crappy job either as past coaches have proven you can be a perennial bowl team. London won a FCS title at Richmond and UVA is playing better than they have in years right now so I think you might see London considered a pretty good coach before much longer.

Now, don't misunderstand my point. I'm not saying that black coaches have proven themselves to be of lesser quality. I don't know if that was Fayettechill14's point or not. My only point is that the argument that black coaches have failed only because they have gotten the worst jobs is not rooted in fact.

My only belief on the subject is that "black coaches" have not failed anymore than "white coaches" have succeeded. We're talking about individuals and each person is responsible for their own performance. There aren't too many elite level talented coaches out there and there are probably even fewer elite jobs so it's unreasonable to expect there to be some sort of even distribution of success or failure along racial lines regardless of what point one is trying to prove.

Attitudes have slowly been changing although there are still some black coaches out there that have not been given the opportunity they deserved. Charlie Strong comes to mind. With his resume and pedigree he should have been able to land something better than Louisville as a first HC job. His resume was not all that different from Will Muschamp although he never really got the credit for it. I've heard that Strong didn't get a job not so much because of his color, but because he was black and his wife was white. That might be just a rumor, but if true it points to another attitude that needs to be overcome.

I look forward to the day when we don't feel the need to discuss any racial component of a game where race should not be any factor.

AllTideUp
AllTideUp

So what was your point in all this? I don't really see how success/failure ratios are relevant.

I agree about McGee though. I think he'll be a pretty good coach.

Statesman
Statesman

GeoffDawg, what I found amusing was you quoting statistics that did not apply to this article. They were useless. Then you extrapolated from your irrelevant information into affirmative action and quotas. Yes, all of this based on the above thread is over my head. I'll stick to sports and allow you to bless the board with your social-political views.

GeoffDawg
GeoffDawg

Bryan actually makes a good point although he is coming across as unnecessarily angry over it. You could just as easily reverse the paradigm and ask if blacks only constitute 13% of the population, then it’s unfair that they make up such a large percentage of the players. Of course, this argument would be ridiculous as are most that try to resolve historical inequalities through affirmative action. You can’t legislate fairness no matter how hard you try. It’d be nice to just move past race issues in sports in general but that would probably be naïve as well.

GeoffDawg
GeoffDawg

Nice job talking yourself into a corner. I noticed that you referenced it in your original post as well. I guess that makes the three of us co-owners? I also see your implication that I'm extrapolating incorrectly. However, since I find you defensive and illogical, I won't take it personally. Apparently, it's the best you can do so I can't reasonably expect any better.

I'm afraid that my local provider probably won't be carrying Kentucky v. Vandy but I'll eagerly await your synopsis.

Statesman
Statesman

GeoffDawg if you use them you own them. Not sensitive but logical. Tried, but could not find logic in your original post. Extrapolation when used correctly is a valuable tool. Enjoy the game & history being made in the S.E.C.

GeoffDawg
GeoffDawg

I see reading comprehension isn’t one of your strong suits there Statesmen. If you’ll double-check, you’ll see that they’re not my statistics, they’re Bryan’s statistics which I referenced in response to John who was responding to Bryan. Hope I didn’t lose you there. Also, yes, I extrapolated those numbers into a more general statement about race in sports. Not sure why that gets your shorts in a wad but there you go. Some people are just hyper-sensitive I guess.

Josh
Josh

Dead on.



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