NEW YORK (AP)—Super Bowl-winning coach Tony Dungy called the dearth of minority head coaches in major college football “disgraceful.”
Dungy became the first Black coach to win a Super Bowl in 2007 with the Indianapolis Colts. Now an analyst with NBC’s pregame show, Dungy said on the program Sunday night that minority coaches believe they have more opportunity for advancement in the pros than in college. Seven of the 32 coaches in the NFL are Black, including Bills interim coach Perry Fewell.
|LEADS HURRICANES— Miami head coach Randy Shannon, right, shakes hands with South Florida head coach Jim Leavitt after Miami defeated South Florida 31-10 Nov. 28, in Tampa, Fla.
Advancement for these coaches has been due in no small part to the “Rooney Rule,” long advocated by Steelers owner Dan Rooney, and established by the league in 2003. It requires all teams to interview at least one minority candidate for head coaching and senior football operations openings.
So in the NFL, there’s substantial progress. But in the college game, it’s a much different story. Of the 120 Football Bowl Subdivision coaches this season, just nine are minorities—and only Miami’s Randy Shannon is at a BCS school.
There’s also been virtually no sign of change. In the last two off-seasons, there have been a total of 22 job openings at these schools. All were filled by White candidates. Even teams looking for a fresh face have failed to break the status quo. Of the 11 jobs filled in the past year, nine of the new coaches had never led a top-level program before.
Asked whether the situation in the college game represents institutionalized racism, Dungy said, “The numbers would tell you that it is.”
After the 2006 season, Dungy recommended then-Vikings defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin for the head coaching position at a BCS school. Tomlin didn’t get an interview. A month later, the Steelers hired him as their head coach, and within two years he led them to a Super Bowl win.
“That’s the difference between the NCAA and the NFL right now,” Dungy said.
Dungy met last month with NCAA officials and has offered his help on the issue. He called on school presidents to reverse the trend.
“They’ve got to step up and say, ‘We’re going to do the right thing. We’re going to hire qualified people. We’re going to hire the best man for the job regardless of what boosters or anyone else has to say,’” Dungy said.