Gregg Doyel is a tool, but I have to admit the same thought crossed my mind when I heard the news about Skip Holtz getting another head coaching gig as this:
Skip Holtz did this to me. Skip Holtz and Louisiana Tech. When that school decided to hire Holtz on Thursday night, something in me cracked. I was reading Bruce Feldman’s news story on the hiring, but I was hearing Jon Embree’s words:
“We don’t get second chances.”
Jon Embree is African-American, and he is — or was — the football coach at Colorado. And he was speaking for the astonishing percentage of African-American football coaches who have been fired and never given another shot at running a Division I-A program.
All told, 41 African-American coaches have been hired at that level. Only one, Tyrone Willingham, has been fired and given a second chance like the one just given to Skip Holtz. Like the ones given to John L. Smith, Gerry DiNardo, Paul Pasqualoni, Hal Mumme and Ron Zook.
Yes, Jon Embree stunk on ice. But it’s not like Skip Holtz was exactly killing it, either.
Now I don’t think this is about overt racism on the part of athletic directors. It’s more about old-fashioned laziness, as Doyel illustrates.
And I’m willing to give Louisiana Tech the benefit of the doubt — sincerely — and state unequivocally that Skip Holtz wasn’t hired because he’s white. He was hired because he’s Skip Holtz. Because his father is Lou Holtz. Because he has a name the average college football fan will recognize, and that’s how you win the news conference at a school like Louisiana Tech. You hire a coach your fans have heard of.
Will time take care of some of this? Sure – more minority coaches mean the recognition factor will increase over time. The success Sumlin and Franklin enjoyed this year will help.
But in the meantime it’s pretty sad to watch Kansas throw money at a hack like Charlie Weis while Randy Shannon can’t get another head coaching job.