Yesterday’s hiring of Ron English by Eastern Michigan brings the total number of African-American head coaches in major college football to five—out of 119. That miniscule number underscores the barriers black coaches face, and, Michael Rosenberg writes for Fox Sports, the need for a black coach to dissolve those barriers by winning big, like Georgetown’s John Thompson did in college hoops.
College athletic directors, boosters and alumni have the classic image of the head coach, Rosenberg notes: an older white guy. In pro sports, only the team owner has to see past this stereotype, but in college many voices weigh in, and the stereotype is harder to break. College football needs a John Thompson to thrive and be seen as a great coach—not just a great black coach.