February is Black History month and it gives people the chance to reflect on how far we have come as a society, and still aspire to become better in the future. These issues of race are something that are prevalent in all parts of life, even in sports. Often, the issues stem from the search for equality, as everyone wants to have the same opportunities and chances afforded to them no matter what race they are.
Today, this search for equality can be directly linked to coaching a sports team. There has always been an ongoing conversation about how to increase the number of minority coaches in professional sports, and different rules and regulations have been applied to give every applicant a fair chance at receiving a job.
The Rooney Rule was established in 2003 for NFL teams, requiring that minority candidates be interviewed for both head coaching and senior football operation jobs.
However, despite the efforts, there is still a lack of diversity among these jobs, particularly in regards to head coaching positions. For example, only 13 percent of men’s head coaches in the NCAA are racial minorities. Yet, in some sports, such as basketball, there tends to be more diversity, with 25 percent of DI men’s teams having an African American head coach at one point. There is still work to be done, but minorities have come to be more highly represented in sports than in the past.
Our editors have done their research and analysis while choosing a side on this controversial discussion. Lets see their take on whether or not minorities are fairly represented in coaching today.
Despite what the statistics say, I do believe that minorities are well represented in coaching today. My argument is similar to the “quality over quantity” approach, as I believe that several notable coaches in the past 10-15 years have been minorities.
Pittsburgh Steelers’ coach Mike Tomlin, an African American, was hired by the team in 2007, and led the team to a Super Bowl victory in 2008. His personality and accomplishments have made him a recognizable figure in the NFL.
Former Indianapolis Colts’ coach Tony Dungy became the first African American NFL head coach to win a Super Bowl, and is known to be one of the most respected men in the NFL.
Despite other coaches winning, the performances of the minority coaches have been incredible when they’ve received a chance. Obviously, it shouldn’t matter what race a person is if they are qualified for the position, and they should receive a fair chance at that opportunity.
While I hope to see an increase in the number of minority coaches, I wish that people were judged solely based on their performance and not their race, which would eliminate this discussion completely.
I think Cale has a number of great points, but there are a number of statistics that demonstrate that professional and collegiate sports have a little ways to go in the area of hiring minority coaches.
In 2012, two thirds of the NFL was comprised of minority athletes, while only 26 percent of the league’s management positions were occupied by non-white ethnicities. The next year not a single minority coach was hired despite 13 available management positions.
In the NBA, 81 percent of all players qualified as “people of color,” according to TIDES’ 2012 Racial and Gender Report Card. Although the percentage of minority coaches was the highest in history, still only 35 percent of the league’s front office was minorities.
In Division I men’s basketball, African American athletes comprised 57.2 percent of student athletes, but the number of coaches dropped from an all-time high of 25 percent in 2006 to just 18.6 percent in 2012.
Of course every team wants to hire the best coach available for the job. Every league, team and sport insists that management positions are determined regardless of cultural heritage of ethnicity.
It’s a tough question to answer, because nobody really seems to have an explanation for why the best coach in sports is almost always white.