African-American College Basketball Coach Gets a Second Chance

In 1996 Todd Bozeman, head men’s basketball coach at the University of California at Berkeley, was considered one of the rising stars in his field. In three seasons, he had achieved a 63-35 record. At age 29 he was the youngest coach to ever take his team to the final 16 of the NCAA basketball tournament.

But then, a parent of a player who was disgruntled about the amount of playing time his son was getting on the court blew the whistle on Coach Bozeman. The parent charged that the University of California coach had made $30,000 in illegal payments to them in order to get their son to come to Berkeley.

After the allegations were publicized Bozeman stepped down. He was assessed an 8-year “show cause” penalty by the NCAA, which required any college or university that wanted to hire him to go through a lengthy process to justify the hiring decision. Not one college or university was willing to go through the process.

Bozeman worked as a scout for National Basketball Association teams and did commentary on basketball telecasts. He also worked as a salesman for a pharmaceutical company.

But now that his NCAA suspension is over, Bozeman has landed the head coaching job at Morgan State University, the historically black educational institution in Baltimore. He has a three-year contract to turn around a team that never has had much success and that posted a 4-26 record last season.