African American College Football Coaches Tend to Get the Axe Sooner Than Their White Peers

footballA new analysis by Nolan Kopkin, an assistant professor of Africology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, has found that race is a significant factor in retention of Black head coaches in major college football.

Dr. Kopkin analyzed data on hiring, firing, and job performance of head football coaches in Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association over a 20-year period. He found that on average, a Black head coach will be fired one or two years earlier than a White coach with a similar job-performance record. By year four, 60 percent of Black head coaches were fired compared to 40 percent of White head coaches who were fired within their first four years on the job.

“What the research shows is that Black head coaches tend to take over colleges or universities whose football teams aren’t that good. The historical performance of these universities has tended to be a lot worse,” Kopkin says. “Coaches need enough time to recruit their own players. A three- to four-year span is generally what it would take to turn around a program, and it seems as though many Black head coaches don’t really get that opportunity to see out their vision of recruiting their own players and building up their team.”

The study, “You’re Fired: The Impact of Race on the Firing of Black Head Coaches in Major College Football,” was published in the Review of the Black Political Economy. It may be accessed here.


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