What? No Black Female Coaches?

By Richard Kent
Updated: April 4, 2007

Carolyn Peck

Carolyn Peck

CLEVELAND — Former Florida head coach Carolyn Peck won it all with Purdue back in 1999. Before then and up until C. Vivian Stringer Tuesday night, no black coach has ever coached a women’s team to the National Championship game.

There are only a handful of women’s coaches on the Division I level who are black. The same problem hit the men’s game and at least some forward looking athletic directors and university presidents saw the problem and have tried to correct it.

Pokey Chatman, once at LSU, could have been coaching in the game but we know that certain extracurricular activities felled her. Stringer is a big success story at Rutgers and her name has been bandied about as one of the top women’s coaches of all-time.

Not one of the top black women’s coaches. She has transcended her race. Others need to look past that as well. And remember, it’s not the coaches problems, but the AD’s.

Look at the current openings this year: Michigan, LSU, Florida, and Duke and the list goes on. There are some great black assistants out there.

Among them are Jolette Law at Rutgers, Jamelle Elliott and Tonya Cardoza at UConn, Nikki McCray at Tennessee and many more at prestigious programs throughout the country.

How many of them will get a chance? When will we finally hear that Coach Stringer was not a trailblazer because the trail has been blazed.

We won’t know until the coaching carousel stops in about May or so, but it’s time to look beyond the box and take some of the young assistants who have worked under Summitt, Stringer or Auriemma and elevate them.

The game will be better for it and after all that is all we are after. Until then, it will be all about the few instead of the many and there is something wrong with that.

Take a cue from the men’s game. It is time.