Admittedly, my first response to Jon Solomon’s article about Charlie Strong’s firing and its effect on black coaches was a bit knee jerk, but he makes a solid point when he writes,
Advocates who are pushing for minorities to get more interviews for head-coaching jobs are closely watching what happens next with Strong.
They remember Will Muschamp at Florida Gators , Charlie Weis at Notre Dame and Ron Zook at Florida. They all failed miserably at one high-profile job only to get another head-coaching position fairly quickly (at South Carolina Gamecocks , Kansas and Illinois Fighting Illini , respectively). There’s also Ed Orgeron, who similarly failed miserably as a first-time head coach at Ole Miss Rebels and — after a decade as an assistant and interim coach — worked his way back to one of the most prestigious jobs in the country at LSU. They’re all white. (Willingham got another job after Notre Dame and went 11-37 at Washington Huskies in four years.)
What jobs open up this offseason and where Strong wants to coach will be factors determining whether he’s a head coach in 2017. Another factor: Presidents and athletic directors considering Strong had a 23-3 record in his final two years at Louisville Cardinals after cleaning up problems he inherited.
“The question isn’t about him falling [at Texas], it’s will he get an opportunity somewhere else?” said Ohio State Buckeyes athletic director Gene Smith…
I’ve said for years, it’s not that athletic directors are racists — athletics aren’t a place you can succeed with that kind of attitude — as much as they’re lazy and more than willing to tap into the familiar as a way of avoiding being accused of taking unnecessary risks. I may not be as sure as I could be about Strong’s head coaching ability, as others are. He did very well at Louisville, but the best that can be said about his Texas stint was that he and the school were a bad match. Even with that, I’m certainly sure he’s no worse a gamble than Boom, Weis or the Zooker were on their second shots.
By the way, and on an entirely different note, this passage ought to be interesting to GTP’s self-appointed expert on HR and hiring:
Universities are bound by federal law, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to not discriminate when hiring. However, athletic departments often find a way around having a diversified pool, unlike other job openings at universities, Norvell said.
“ADs call the HR department when they have a hot candidate and they ask for a waiver,” Norvell said. “What the waiver does is get them around Title VII because they can qualify it as an emergency hire and then they don’t need a diversified pool…”
Must have seemed like an emergency after Jimmy Sexton opened the lines of communication with South Carolina, I suppose.