Jon Embree, Randy Shannon and Other Black Coaches Never Get a Second Chance
Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. This week, Luke talks about the unfair treatment of African-American college football coaches.
The firing of Jon Embree as head coach of the University of Colorado's football team proves Division I college football is still a Good Ole Boys Club. At his last press conference, a tearful Embree, who compiled a 4-21 record in two seasons, noted that African-American coaches don't get second chances.
Bill McCartney, who coached Embree at Colorado in the 1980s and won a national title at the school in 1991, echoed his former player. McCartney told the Denver Post that he also had losing seasons during his first two years, but got to keep his job because he is Caucasian.
"I believe black men have less opportunity," he said. "It didn't happen to me. Why should it happen to a black man?"
The fact white coaches with losing records and dubious character issues have no problem getting new gigs backs up Embree's claim.
For example, the University of Arizona tapped Rich Rodriguez despite his lack of ethics and lousy job performance when he was running the University of Michigan Wolverines. During the 2008, 2009, and 2010 seasons, Rodriguez compiled a 15-22 record at Michigan. His last year at the school, the NCAA accused Rodriguez and his staff of committing five major rules violations. It was the first major scandal in Michigan's storied history.
Washington State University hired Mike Leach, who was fired as head coach at Texas Tech University in 2009 following an investigation that he abused one of his players, Adam James, by forcing him to stand inside a cramped equipment room during a practice. Washington State star wide reciever Marquess Wilson, who quit the team in early November after Leach suspended him, wrote a letter condemning the coach and his staff, noting the new regime belittled, intimidated, and humiliated players.
Interestingly, Leach finished his first season with a 3-9 record, only two more wins than Embree.
Another loser white coach who got a second chance was Gene Chizik. During his first coaching gig, Chizik went 5-19 at Iowa State. But that didn't stop Auburn from hiring him in 2009. Two years after winning the national title in 2010 with Cam Newton as his quarterback, Chizik finally got canned.
Meanwhile, African-American Randy Shannon compiled a 28-22 record during his tenure as University of Miami head coach, guided the school to the third-best graduate rate among Division I football programs, and tried to keep Ponzi schemer Nevin Shapiro away from his players. Yet Shannon, who is now linebackers coach at Texas Christian University, is never considered a prime head coaching candidate.
This proves the plantation mentality still rules college football.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Miami New Times' biggest stories.