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Ivy League Football Has First Black Head Coach

Ivy League Football Has First Black Head Coach

Columbia University recently became the first Ivy League college to hire an African-American to lead its football program. Athletic director Dr. M. Dianne Murphy recently confirmed the hiring of Norries Wilson as the new head coach of the program. For the past four years, Wilson
has been the offensive coordinator at the University of Connecticut. His best season came in 2004, when he guided the eighth most productive offense in Division I-A. That season, the Huskies went on to defeat the University of Toledo in the Motor City Bowl, 38-10, and Wilson was named one of five finalists for the Frank Broyles Award, given annually to the top assistant coach in the nation.

“Norries Wilson is a dynamic leader with a full complement of leadership, coaching, management and communication skills, who will take this program where we want to go,” Murphy said during a press conference. “We are proud to have Coach Wilson on board as the head coach of the Lions.”

Wilson’s experience as offensive coordinator should be well received from an offensive line that struggled last season.

“Definitely with that experience, I’m sure he is going to bring his knowledge of the offensive line to our offensive line,” says sophomore center Mike Partain. “This is definitely a positive that he has firsthand experience.”

Wilson has a history of preparing players for the next level. After the 2004 season, Connecticut sent three players to the National Football League, including quarterback Dan Orlovsky, who is currently on the Detroit Lions’ roster.

Wilson has participated in three minority-coaching fellowships with NFL teams — the Kansas City Chiefs in 1992, the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1995 and the Indianapolis Colts in 2000.

Prior to his arrival at UConn, Wilson was the offensive coordinator at Bucknell University from 1997-1998. He came to Bucknell after working as a defensive coordinator at Livingstone College and at North Carolina Central University as the offensive line/tight ends coach.

“I’m hoping he brings enthusiasm, and I’m hoping he brings a winning attitude,” says Partain. “That’s what I want the most. I’m sure that’s what everyone else on the team wants too. We’re all confident in Dr. Murphy’s decision, that she made the right choice for our team. If she thinks he’s the right guy, then I believe he is the right guy.”

Associated Press

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