Black Coaches Struggle to Gain a Toehold in College Football

The so-called “Rooney Rule” in the National Football League mandates that teams seek out and interview at least one minority candidate before they hire a new head coach. This season six of the league’s 32 head coaches are African Americans.

There is no such requirement in college football to interview minority candidates when head coaching positions become available. As a result, when openings became available after the 2007 regular season was completed, the University of Mississippi and Texas A&M University hired new white coaches within a matter of days after their previous coaches were let go. No minority candidates were seriously considered for either position.

This past season there were six black head coaches among the 119 colleges and universities in major college football. After the regular season was over, one of the six black coaches — Karl Dorrell at UCLA — was fired despite the fact that he had led UCLA to a bowl game in each of the past five seasons.