Friday, November 7, 2008


With Obama being elected and Ron Prince getting fired within 24 hours of one another, we are now being subjected to more articles about the dearth of black coaches in D-1A college football. I'll acknowledge the numbers don't add up in terms of the coaches. With coaches like John Blake and Ty Willingham in mind, I decided to chase down the win-loss record of black coaches, and compare it to the 3 year period before and after the coaches departure. With the assistance of an article I round on, and the coaching records and yearly totoals, I chased down the following data:

Black coaches W-L-T; 414-730-8; 36.28%
Record at school 3 years prior; 374-512-11; 42.31%
Record at school 3 years after; 263-362-6; 42.16%

I have no idea why the win percentage dropped when the black coach arrived and went up when he left. I don't think it makes sense. One could argue that the coach inherited a program that was on it's way down, and the coach didn't get a long enough chance to experience the fruits of his labor. I don't think black coaches are smarter or dumber than their white, Asian, Hispanic or any other color/ethnicity counterparts.

Best coaching performance: Turner Gill, Buffalo. The three year prior winning percentage was 9%, and he's improved it to 36.36% during his tenure. Turner has the Bulls one win away from being bowl eligible this year.

Worst coaching performance: John Blake, Oklahoma. In the three years prior to Blake's arrival, the Sooners went 20-14-1. His three year tenure was 12-22-0, and Stoops followed that with a three year period of 31-7-0. The 23% drop in winning percentage is the third largest drop, and the 46% improvement in winning percentage following his departure is by far the largest improvement a school experienced by changing coaches.

To date, Tyrone Willingham, Dennis Green and Ron Cooper are the three black coaches who have led more than one college program. Oddly, enough, John L. Smith succeeded Bobby Williams at Michigan State and Ron Cooper at Louisville and improved the records at both stops.

The above information in no way explains why Greg Robinson and Buddy Teevins have held head coaching positions.

I hope some day in the future, we can stop tracking how many coaches are of what ethnicity. I have probably hired 50+ people over my professional career, and I've never considered race, gender, religion or orientation in the hiring process. I haven't kept tabs on when I first hired an African-American, Asian, redneck or homosexual.

I would bet if you poll the fans of Kansas State or Tenneseee or Washington, and ask them what is important to them, race is far down the list. A college football fan wants someone that wins game, doesn't embarass the school and develops boys into men. Even in those three things, the emphasis is probably on wrong things. It's a lot harder to chase down graduation rates than win loss records.

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