Mommy I Want To Be The Next John Thompson Or John Chaney

By Gregory Moore
Updated: June 1, 2005

Former head coach John Thompson

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — The first line of the e-mail read as follows: �If you�re an African-American basketball player who aspires to be a head coach one day, you may already have fouled out.� The Texas A&M study performed by George Cunningham and Mike Sagas speak of a type of discrimination that is actually more in practice now because it is the unknown discriminatory practice that is not really spoke of. That practice is called access discrimination. Access discrimination happens in sports on a regular basis and it most definitely happens at the coaching level. Here is what the study has concluded.

Of the 300 NCAA Division 1 basketball programs, here are the following trends: � White coaches were more likely to hire white assistant coaches and that African American coaches were more likely to have African American assistants � African American assistants accounted for 30% of the coaching staffs if teams looked at had a white head coach while they made up of 45% of the staffs if the head coach was an African American.

� In the study, African American head coaches represented only 28% of the coaching populous.

�The study pretty much boils down to this: coaches tend to hire other coaches who are just like themselves,� Cunningham says of the survey. �It means that white coaches are more likely to hire white assistant coaches.� As many already know, I am a big proponent of young African Americans trying to get into the coaching ranks because quite frankly we need more young coaches from this community. The study can become disheartening because if we accept the results at face value, we, meaning the community, could take a defeated attitude and say, �Just another door that has closed in our face.� These studies are not the white man�s minions in trying to keep Blacks or any other minority group from achieving certain goals in certain vertical markets. Just like the Lapchick studies that are currently out there, the Cunningham/Sagas study is designed to shed a bright light on a dark segment of society that is either knowingly or unknowingly practicing a type of discrimination that not even the U.S. Department of Justice can crack down on.

The irony of this study is that it is a microcosm to how our society still thinks and acts. Rarely is there any segment in our society that looks at a person�s qualifications strictly on the merits and skills possessed. Hiring a coach for a college basketball program is no different. Strides can be made to help make the disparity of numbers that this study shows dissipate but that�s going to take a collective effort of changing a mind-set and that is something that takes time; even when we are talking about a segment of society like the sports community.

Black Motor Sports Needs Some Heavy Muscle Danika Patrick has made history with being the first woman to finish in the top ten of the Indianapolis 500 and that is something we all should be applauding. However I am wondering, what has happened to 310 Racing and how come they did not field a car that was competitive? I ask that because three years ago, 310 Racing was the flavor of the month and driver George Mack was the in thing. Well this is 2005 and while Patrick did the Rahal/Letterman team proud, one has to ask when will a serious minority owned team be competing year in and year out in the IRL, CART or NASCAR circuits? As we are making strides to become majority owners of franchises in the ABA and WNBA, when will successful black entrepreneurs step up to the plate and sponsor other blacks who are putting together racing teams in such racing leagues like the AMA (American Motorcycle Association), the NHRA and IHRA drag racing circuits and other racing leagues?

One Shot Racing is setting the trend in road racing by bringing the urban culture into the racing world.

African American racing teams like One Shot Racing deserve just as much attention, if not more, as the mainstream teams do. Racing does serve as a viable resource for research and development. Many of the performance and safety enhancements we currently enjoy now come from racing. Yet it costs money; lots of money. OSR�s Jeffrey Coles made an interesting statement when asked about getting sponsorships outside of the traditional scope of the racing world.

�Hip-hop associates can – record and apparel corporations, sport figures, folks who are recognized by the urban culture – they can,� Coles said. �And they�d be a perfect fit for us. What we offer as a team is that since we�re the only one, we create hyper-exposure. We�re such a rarity, everyone is attracted to us. It�s like when Tiger Woods came into golf or Venus and Serena Williams came in to tennis.� One Shot Racing is not the only racing team out there looking for sponsorships and Coles, who is a real estate investor, hit the problem squarely on the head when he said that it is time for the urban culture to back the very products that give it sustenance. Bikes are just as much a part of the urban culture as are fast cars and gaudy jewelry. Michael Jordan is now in the fray as a team owner and he has the support of Suzuki with bikes and technicians. Cole and his partners are privateers and they are trying to raise the type of money like Jordan has to be very competitive.

That is why Cole�s statements above ring out so loudly because if that segment of the urban culture did come OSR�s way and to the many other teams in many other motor sport categories, we could see a viable candidate at Indianapolis or Daytona one day. Hopefully that day comes in our lifetime. There is a market in motor sports that needs teams like Jordan�s and OSR but financial backing has to be there.