COLLEGE FOOTBALL PACKAGE: Some black coaches skeptical of Rooney Rule for college football Print
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Wednesday, 10 October 2007 12:59
NCAAF Headline News

 NEW YORK (AP) -Mississippi State coach Sylvester Croom doubts diversity can be mandated in college football.
The Black Coaches Association has suggested Division I college football, possibly through the NCAA, needs to implement guidelines similar to NFL's Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview minority candidates when hiring a head coach.
``I don't think that's feasible ... because every institution is so different,'' Croom said Wednesday during a teleconference. ``You have so many parties to satisfy in college football.
``The NFL is an organization. It's a lot easier to have missions and address issues. I don't see how that would work at this level.''
The Rooney Rule has resulted in a gradual increase in black coaches around the NFL. The NCAA has said it does not have the authority to control the way its members hire coaches.
Croom is one of only six black coaches at 119 major college football schools, along with UCLA's Karl Dorrell, Buffalo's Turner Gill, Washington's Tyrone Willingham, Kansas State's Ron Prince and Miami's Randy Shannon.
Shannon was one of only two minorities hired to fill 23 coaching vacancies at Bowl Subdivision (formerly I-A) schools after last season. The other was Florida International's Mario Cristobal, who is Hispanic.
Shannon said minority candidates have been getting more interviews for top jobs.
``You just have to make sure you're not interviewing somebody just to interview them,'' he said. ``That's what kills you about the Rooney Rule.''
Shannon was the defensive coordinator at Miami for six seasons before being promoted to replace the fired Larry Coker after last season. He was talked about as a potential head coach for several years and often his name came up when jobs opened.
He interviewed just once during that time at Mississippi. Ed Orgeron was eventually hired by Ole Miss, but Shannon felt the school was giving him a serious look. He also said a coach can do himself a disservice by taking too many interviews.
``You can't just interview just to interview. You have to make sure you have a legit shot at a job. Sometimes you can interview just to interview and you won't have a shot, but you'll fill their quota,'' Shannon said.
``I remember (Florida defensive coordinator) Charlie Strong one year, he got six interviews. I think that may have hurt Charlie because you interview six times and then when other schools see that a guy interviewed six times and didn't get a job, everyone will say 'Why didn't he get a job? Is something wrong with him?' And they may not have been interviewing Charlie for the job. Maybe just for window-dressing.''
Strong agreed with Croom that a Rooney Rule probably wouldn't work in college football.
``That's why there are just some things you can't control and that's one of them,'' he said. ``I just keep going on and if it doesn't happen for me, one of these days it's going to happen for somebody. That's the way I look at it.''
The BCA released its hiring report card on Division I college football Tuesday, and executive director Floyd Keith threatened legal action, possibly a civil rights lawsuit, if more minorities aren't hired as head football coaches.
``There's a constant chatter about hiring black head coaches, but before that happens ... head coaches have to start hiring guys to be coordinators. Until that happens we're not going to get guys to be head coaches,'' said Croom, who became the first black head coach in Southeastern Conference history when he was hired by Mississippi State after the 2003 season. ``I think in a lot of ways we got the cart before the horse on this issue.''
Croom had previously been an assistant with the Green Bay Packers.
According to the BCA, only about 15 percent of coordinators in major college football last season were minorities. Thirty-one out of 242 coordinators were black.
The BCA released a list of 33 prominent minority assistant coaches the organization would like to promote as potential head coaches.
Among the most notable were Strong, UCLA offensive coordinator Jay Norvell, West Virginia offensive coordinator Calvin Magee, Virginia defensive coordinator Mike London and South Carolina defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix.
``This entire process to me is about changing people's attitudes,'' Croom said, ``The fans' attitudes. The people in the hiring process. It's simply a matter of changing attitudes.''
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AP sports writers Tim Reynolds in Coral Gables, Fla., and Mark Long in Gainesville, Fla., contributed to this report.
 

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