BCA Hiring Report Card Shows Positive Change in Football

The latest Black Coaches and Administrators Hiring Report Card for NCAA, FBS and FCS Football Head Coaching Positions (2010-11) documents a significant increase in head coaches of color since the report’s inception in 2003.

It’s not a coincidence that 22 head coaches of color have been hired by Football Bowl Subdivision, or FBS, and Football Championship Subdivision, or FCS, schools in the eight years since the Black Coaches and Administrators, or BCA, released its first report card. This represents 52 percent of all ethnic minority football coaches ever hired.

“We have been an instrument of accountability,” said BCA executive director Floyd Keith in a telephone interview. “We’ve also provided names of talent that are out there and have been successful, who can do the job. Those coaches have gone in and they have been successful.”

Keith said the NCAA also has been instrumental in the positive growth by providing development programs and coaching academies for assistant coaches who want to become head coaches.

“Those have enabled coaches to gain valuable experiences with regards to knowing all of the landscape of being a head coach,” he noted.

The report card released on Tuesday analyzes the practices of the FBS and FCS schools that hired a head football coach in the last hiring cycle. Of the 29 schools in the study, 14 FBS schools received grades of A, two got B’s, four C’s and only one school earned an F. The overall FCS final grades are two A’s, three B’s, two C’s and one F. Quite a change from 10 F’s given four years ago.

FBS San Diego State University got the F. The report indicated that San Diego State got an F for communication, a B for search committee, an F for candidates’ (interview) and an F for time frame. Meanwhile, FCS University of North Carolina-Charlotte got the F because the school elected not to participate in the study. Schools that won’t participate get an automatic F.

“People are no longer living in a vacuum with regards to understanding the issue and what we need to do to fix it,” said Keith, who credits people like renowned coach Tony Dungy and Dr. Richard Lapchick, principal investigator and lead author of the report card, for continuously speaking out about the issue of diversity in college football.

Keith said that the more coaches of color who assume head coaching jobs the more the pipeline of information grows.

“Relationships are key,” Keith said. “Athletic directors are now more in tune with individuals that are in various levels of leadership throughout the coaching industry. There’s a comfort level being established and there’s a visibility. All those things go towards enhancing the opportunities.”

Seven head football coaches of color were hired by FBS institutions during the 2010-11 hiring cycle and three by FCS schools. The hires have been in some high-profile conferences.

A big change since the first report card is the readiness and eagerness of schools to participate. Keith said a lot of schools have prepared the information for the BCA before he even sends out the standard package. Unlike early report cards, very few issues arise about schools’ willingness to participate.

People who care about the issue cannot stop speaking out and pushing for positive change, Keith emphasized.

“We’ve got to continue to be counted,” Keith said. “For it to continue, it’s important that all the advocates that have been involved continue to stand up for justice and it will keep going.”

Each hire makes an impact. When players of color see coaches of color, they understand there is a future for them in the sport beyond the field, according to Keith.

“When you see them on TV, it becomes common,” said Keith. “You look and say, ‘I can do this.’ Success breeds success, mentoring and being able to identify.”

While the numbers are very encouraging in terms of head football coaches, that growth in diversity has not been matched in administrative positions. A report issued last week by The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, or TIDES, that analyzed diversity among campus and conference leaders in FBS schools showed that all 11 FBS conference commissioners are White men. White men held 84.2 percent of the athletic director positions at the 120 FBS campuses.

“If representation on [the field of play] is not reflected in the leadership, we have work to do,” said Keith. “When your participation and your leadership quotient become equal, then we will have done what we need to do.”