Where Are The Opportunities??

By Donald Hunt
Updated: December 18, 2008

Joe Taylor

Joe Taylor

PHILADELPHIA — When you think about the number of black head coaches at FBS (formerly Division I-A) colleges around the country, it’s really terrible. With the resignation of Mississippi State head coach Sylvester Croom, this leaves Turner Gill (Buffalo), Kevin Sumlin (Houston) and Randy Shannon (Miami) as the only African-Americans coaching major college football.

The only thing worse than this situation is the lack of opportunities for black college coaches to move up the ladder to the FBS level. It’s rare that an HBCU coach receives an interview or any kind of consideration for a major college head coaching job.

This is where a lot of presidents, athletic directors and administrators go wrong in their selections. These coaches are more than qualified to succeed in a FBS program.

There aren’t many coaches on any level better than Joe Taylor who just completed his first season at Florida A&M. Prior to taking over the Rattlers’ program, Taylor spent 16 years at Hampton and compiled an amazing 136-49-1 record.

In his 26-year coaching career, he owns a 205-79-4 mark.

He is only the eighth all-time FCS coach to win more than 200 games, joining coaching legends such as Grambling State’s Eddie Robinson, Delaware’s Tubby Raymond and former FAMU head coach Billy Joe, who is now coaching at Miles College.

Taylor isn’t the only big-time HBCU coach. There are others capable of coaching major college football such as Rod Broadway (Grambling State), Pete Richardson (Southern), Rick Comegy (Jackson State), Buddy Pough (South Carolina State), Willie Slater (Tuskegee) and others.

This isn’t a job advertisement for these coaches as they’ve remained committed to coaching black college football. And because of their efforts, these coaches have sent many players to the NFL, but more importantly, have provided a lot of young men with an opportunity to receive an education.

Furthermore, HBCU coaches are constantly doing more with less. They aren’t getting the best athletes as they did years ago. Actually, black college coaches have to work as hard as ever.

Moreover, these coaches don’t have all the resources afforded most FBS programs, but they still manage to get the job done.

Willie Jeffries was the first black college coach to be hired by a major Division I-A program. In 1979, Jeffries left South Carolina State to become a head coach at Wichita State. That was 29 years ago.

A lot of head coaches have been hired and fired during that time.

It’s time to give the HBCU coaches a look.