Time to once again play Athletic Director. Your school is slumping. You have fired the head coach. You are looking for a talented replacement, who will bring the program to prominence, satisfy fans and alumni, and secure your job.
You want to hire the best coach regardless of race, but you are sensitive to racial matters.
If you are Daryl Gross, Syracuse's AD, you set up a Search Committee composed of former Syracuse players Art Monk, Don McPherson, Floyd Little and Tim Green. Although the AD and three of the four Search Committee members are African-American, they decided based on quite a number of factors that Syracuse alum Doug Marrone should be their head coach. Marrone had ten years experience in college coaching before seven years of progressive experience in the NFL ending with the Offensive Coordinator position with the New Orleans Saints. In his second year, Marrone has the Orangemen in a bowl game with an overall record of 7-5 and a 4-3 in-conference record. The Irish followed the NFL pathway in hiring Charlie Weis, a '78 alum and Offensive Coordinator, from the New England Patriots.
A second and more common pathway to college head coaching positions than coming from the NFL is the one followed by Michael Haywood. Before the Miami job, Haywood had twenty years of progressive experience with his last three positions at LSU, Texas and then, as Offensive Coordinator for four years at Notre Dame. In his second year, Haywood's Redhawks will play this Saturday for the MAC championship.
At this point, head coaching searches are on at BCS teams Colorado, Vanderbilt, Indiana, Minnesota and Miami (Fl). Non-BCS teams in search of a head coach are Arkansas State, Ball State, Kent State and Louisiana at Lafayette. (NCAA minority coaching list)
Which minority college coordinators are on your short list? Here's mine.
John Chavis, LSU DC (16 yrs DC experience, 31 yrs total) Chavis is one of the deans of defense (coordinators) having proven himself over time at both Tennessee and now at LSU. His Tiger defense ranks 9th nationally in Total Defense giving up just 301 yards per game and 9th in Scoring Defense surrendering only 17.75 points per game average. LSU's defense is the main reason the Tigers are 10-2. Chavis could head back to Tennessee as head coach of Vanderbilt or to Miami (Fl) to make the Hurricane's 16th ranked Total Defense even better. At Coral Gables with the right OC, Chavis could bring da U back.
Norm Chow, UCLA OC (11 yrs OC experience, 36 yrs total) Chow's body of work includes success at BYU, NC State, USC, and the Tennessee Titans. While back in southern California for the last three years, his offensive production has sputtered at UCLA - 8th in the conference for two years and 10th this year. Chow has coached three Heisman Trophy winners (Matt Leinart, Carson Palmer, Ty Detmer), six first round picks (Palmer, Leinart, Philip Rivers, Steve Young, Jim McMahon, Marc Wilson) and one Pro Football Hall of Fame member (Young). The newest member of the Pac-10, Colorado, may be a good fit for Chow, who knows how to recruit California. But would Chow leave for Boulder? A Chavis-Chow combination at Miami would be fearsome.
Don Treadwell, Mich State OC (11 yrs OC experience, 27 yrs total) Treadwell has been Mark Dantonio's OC for seven years, culminating this year in a share of the Big Ten title for the Spartans with a 11-1 record. He assumed the head coaching role when Dantonio had a heart attack. The Spartans did not miss a beat, winning all four games. Would Treadwell leave East Lansing to rebuild Big Ten cellar dwellers Minnesota or Indiana?
Calvin Magee, Michigan OC (8 yrs OC experience, 15 yrs total) Magee is similar to Treadwell, having spent all of his coordinator years with one coach, Rich Rodriquez, in West Virginia and now at Michigan. Magee's Wolverine offense is 6th nationally in Total Offense, 23rd in Scoring Offense. Magee can point to Denard Robinson's success. Indiana already runs the spread option. Plus it might be time to unhitch himself from RichRod's wagon.
Al Borges, San Diego State OC (18 yrs OC experience, 29 yrs total) Borges coached Jason Campbell, Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown at Auburn, helping lead the Tigers to a 41-9 record over four years. He was named Offensive Coordinator of the Year by Rivals in 2005 and was twice a finalist for Assistant Coach of the Year. He has been the OC and QB coach at three different Pac-10 schools - UCLA, California, and Oregon with stints at Indiana and Boise State. In his second year at San Diego State, his offense has helped the Aztecs to a 8-4 record with close losses only to Missouri, TCU, Utah and BYU. None of those losses were by more than 5 points. If Chow cannot be lured out of LA for the Colorado job, Borges would be an excellent candidate.
Jay Norvell, Oklahoma OC (7 yrs OC or Co-OC experience, 23 yrs total) After Offensive Coordinator positions at Nebraska and UCLA, Norvell has been part of Bob Stoops and OC Kevin Wilson's high-powered offense for the last three years. The Sooners have been near the top every year in Scoring Offense, averaging over 38 points per game over the last three years. He has also coached with the Oakland Raiders, Indianapolis Colts, Iowa State and Wisconsin.
The third pathway for coaching candidates - besides the NFL and college coordinators positions - are the head coaching ranks of non-BCS schools. The only real choice here for you is:
Kevin Sumlin (3 years as Head Coach, 23 yrs total) Sumlin continues to produce an exciting offense, ranking 4th in Passing Offense with 327 yards per game and 37.7 points per game. But the Cougars are 5-7 overall and 4-4 in-conference. Sumlin is undoubtedly looking for the right BCS team. He would bring along two minority coordinators - Jason Phillips, OC (1 year OC, 2 more years as Co-OC) and Brian Stewart in his first year as Cougars' DC after two years as the Dallas Cowboys DC.
After another year or two of success at Miami (OH), Haywood may be a FBS head coach candidate.
A fourth pathway to FBS head coaching positions is from HC at an FCS school, as Mike London did, returning to his alma mater, Virginia, after leading Richmond to a 24-5 record in two years that included a FCS national championship. Potential FBS head coaches from the FCS ranks include:
Tony Samuel, Southest Missouri State - Samuels has seven years of previous Head Coach experience at NM State. Samuels also coached eleven years at his alma mater, Nebraska, under Tom Osborne, winning two national championships. SE Mo State won the Ohio Valley conference and are in the playoffs for the FCS championship this year. Samuel served on the American Football Coaches Association Board of Trustees for three years. SE Mo St has the 3rd best rushing attack in FCS, the 24th ranked defense, 11th in Pass Efficiency Defense, 2nd in Turnover Margin, and 1st in Sacks Allowed.
Also of note: Randy Shannon, ex-Miami HC has been listed as one of the leading candidates for the Vanderbilt position and as a candidate for the Minnesota position. James Franklin, Maryland OC (5 years OC experience, 16 years total) - is the Terps' "Head Coach In Waiting", but with Ralph Friedgen interested in negotiating a new contract, Franklin has been rumored to be interested in the Vanderbilt position, too.
Other minority coaches whose names may be mentioned for the right head coaching positions are Mario Cristobal, FIU and Ken Niumalolo, Navy.
Two years ago in a similar article, six of the nine black coaching candidates I profiled were hired. Only Treadwell, Magee and Norvell remain in coordinator positions. While Michael Haywood, Charlie Strong and Ruffin McNeil seem to be on the road to success, the three other black head coaches have struggled. Ron English's Eastern Michigan team is 2-22 over two seasons, last in the MAC West. DeWayne Walker's New Mexico State Aggies are 5-20 over two seasons, second to the last in the WAC. Mike Locksley's New Mexico Lobos are 2-22 in two seasons, last in the Mountain West.
Locksley has been a particular disappointment in Albuquerque. In addition to a miserable record, Locksley allegedly punched an assistant coach, triggering a lawsuit against the University, and has been accused of sexual harassment and age discrimination. He countersued her lawyer. New Mexico is 115th in the FBS (out of 120 schools) in Points Scored, averaging 15.8 per game, and 120th in Points Against, giving up 44.3 per game.
This year each week Rivals has ranked the top 20 Offensive and Defensive Coordinators. (Manny Diaz just dropped out off the list. Bob Diaco is now on it.) As AD, you will weighing minority candidates against top coordinators like Gus Malzahn, Auburn OC and Jim Heacock, Ohio State DC for your school. (Chavis ranks sixth on the DC list.) Here are some minority coordinators on the rise and worth keeping an eye on include:
David Shaw, Stanford OC (4 yrs OC exp, 5 yrs total) - Stanford 0ff - 14th Total Off, 467 ydpg; 8th Scoring Off. Rivals OC ranking - 8th.
Manny Diaz, Miss St DC (5 yrs DC exp, 1 at BCS level, 11 years total) Total Def this year - 53rd, 8th in the SEC. Scoring Def - 27th nationally, 4th in the SEC.
Everett Withers, North Carolina DC (3 yrs DC exp, 23 years total including NFL)
Todd Orlando, Connecticut DC (4 yrs DC exp, 15 years total)
Kalani Sitake, Utah DC (2 yrs DC exp, 6 yrs total)
Here's a couple of minority Coordinators who are experienced, respected, but their teams have performed poorly:
Steve Brown, Kentucky DC (4 yrs DC exp, 15 yrs total) Total Def this year - 50th, 7th in SEC. Scoring Def - 74th, 10th in SEC. Total Defense over last 4 years - ('10-353 yds/gm, '09-360, '08-332, '07-397) Scoring Defense -('10-28.5 points per game, '09-22.7, '08-21.5, '07-29.6)
Tyrone Nix, Ole Miss DC (10 yrs DC exp, 15 yrs total) Total Def this year - 81st, 11th in SEC. Scoring Def - 107th, 12th in SEC.
The NCAA for a few years has instituted a Football Coaches Academy for minority coaches career advancement. Most of the recent minorities are graduates. Click on the link on this page - "NCAA Head Football Coach Race-Ethnicity Demographics" - for a full list with demographics.
Outside of Michael Haywood, Trent Miles, another African-American coach who now is the head coach of Indiana State, also coached at Notre Dame. Bernie Parmalee, formerly on Charlie Weis's staff at ND, is now on his staff on the KC Chiefs. Both Miles and Parmalee, as well as Rick Minter, have had their names mentioned for the Ball State opening.
Now you're in the driver's seat and your job is on the line. Make the right hire with someone who will succeed and connect with alumni and fans and your job is assured. Failure means season ticket sales slump, a buyout, and your decision-making is questioned.