Black Coaches Association Tries To Gain Power By Embracing Other Minorities And Attracting Administrators

By Mark Alesia
Updated: June 5, 2006
MIAMI — Membership in the Black Coaches Association could more than double with the decision to change its name to include other minorities and athletic administrators, executive director Floyd Keith said.
The BCA announced two options for its new name Thursday at its convention in Miami: Diverse Coaches and Administrators (DCA) or the Diverse Coaches and Administrators Association (DCAA).
Members of the Indianapolis-based BCA have until the end of the month to suggest other ideas, and the association’s board of directors will choose the name soon after.
But Keith said there definitely would be a change.
“Many groups, people of color, have similar issues,” Keith said. “We’re going to embrace that.
“We’re going to expand so we can take our membership level to new heights. It will strengthen our causes and support in a lot of ways.”
Keith said there are more than 3,200 members of the BCA, about two-thirds of whom pay dues.
Those include coaches, assistant coaches and administrators at the high school, college and pro levels, although most of the membership is from college.
With the change, which Keith said was not primarily motivated by finances, the goal is to have more than 7,000 members. Adding “administrators” to the name, he said, would make it clearer that they too are welcome.
For years, the mission statement of the BCA has not been limited to blacks, saying the group exists to “foster the growth and development of ethnic minorities at all levels of sports both nationally and internationally.”
There were 3,239 black coaches and administrators in the NCAA in 2003-04, according to the NCAA’s most recent report. That was 8.9 percent of the total. There were 1,321 other ethnic minorities, 3.6 percent of the total.
The Miami Herald quoted Lamonte Massie, football coach at Edward Waters College, a historically black school in Jacksonville, Fla., as saying he was “a little bit discouraged” and that the change could “dilute our opportunities. . . . I really feel this is great to have the BCA . . . because it’s for black folk. Nobody else is going to represent us.”
Indiana State defensive coordinator Aubrey Kelly, also among the 200 present, told The Star that he supports the change, and that most others at the meeting do, too.
“The body has an opportunity to be stronger when representation and membership is greater,” Kelly said.
Said Keith: “We talked to a lot of folks, like John Thompson and Tyrone Willingham, and they think it’s a good idea.”
Neither Thompson, the former Georgetown basketball coach, nor Willingham, the Washington football coach, could be reached for comment.
The BCA started in 1988, and became most visible in 1994 during a threatened boycott of college basketball games. Thompson and some other coaches believed NCAA rule changes involving academics and scholarships would hurt black athletes.
The BCA’s influence waned in the late 1990s. The group sued its former executive director, Rudy Washington, seeking an accounting of funds. The case was settled out of court.
In 2001, Keith became the BCA’s first full-time executive director, and the group moved into offices in the Pan Am Plaza in Indianapolis.
Since then, membership has grown. The BCA’s highest-profile issue has been hiring in Division I college football.
There are five black head football coaches out of 119 Division I-A schools. In Division I-AA, excluding historically black schools, there are four out of 103, including Indiana State’s Lou West and Valparaiso’s Stacy Adams.
According to the NCAA’s 2003-04 statistics — the most recent available tracking minority coaches — there were two non-black minority coaches in I-A and I-AA, both of whom were Hispanic.
Keith said the finances of the BCA are stable, although the organization lost a major money-maker when the NCAA phased out “exempt” football games such as the BCA Classic.
The exempt games didn’t count against the maximum number allowable.