Snail-Like Progress in Increasing Black Head Coaches in College Sports

A new report from the National Collegiate Athletic Association shows that African Americans have made only snail-like progress in coaching positions in college sports over the past decade. The data shows that in head coaching positions, the black percentage of all coaches for men’s teams increased from 7.6 percent in 1996 to 8.8 percent in 2006. For women’s teams, the percentage of blacks as head coaches increased from 7.5 percent to 8.5 percent over the same period.

The figures vary to a great degree depending on the particular sport. In 2006 blacks made up more than 17 percent of the head coaches in track and field and men’s basketball, sports with very large numbers of black athletes. But blacks were less than 3 percent of the head coaches in men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s swimming, field hockey, ice hockey, women’s golf, and wrestling. All of these sports have very few black athletes.

Substantial progress was made over the past decade in adding black head coaches in both indoor and outdoor track for men and women. But in almost every other college sport, the progress was minimal at best. In six sports the percentage of black head coaches actually declined in the 1996-2006 period. They are baseball, women’s tennis, women’s golf, men’s tennis, wrestling, and softball. In both 1996 and 2006 there were no black head coaches in college ice hockey.