Dec 14

A Positive Step

Posted By:Brett Haynes - Greenville, SC  Tags:

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Photo: by USPresswire (click to enlarge)

I try my best to stay away from politics. I just feel with so many different opinions out there, as soon as you get into any kind of public matter over an issue, there is no way you can win. No matter which said of the argument you are on, there is always a going to be a group of folks that don't like you. So while I will stand up for a few things, I try to keep most of my non-sport opinions tucked away in my brain.

But with the recent hirings of Charlie Strong at Louisville, Mike London at Virginia and Turner Gill at Kansas, I wanted to voice out, as I have no chance to lose this one! These were three very strong hires not only for their respective schools, but for the good of the game of college football, as well. You see, Strong, London and Gill are black men, and the grand total of black head coaches in the AQ conferences - after these three hirings - numbers just four. But that will grow, and when Miami plays Virginia this fall, there will be a black head man on both sidelines (Randy Shannon).

There isn't breaking news in this short write-up, or any kind of huge point to make. I simply wanted the importance of these three hires to be brought to the forefront. These three guys are good coaches, and I am expecting to see them succeed.

Now, I'm hardly saying we need to just overnight have a huge racial tidal wave of change sweep across the college football landscape. Things just need to happen naturally, with the end result eventually being better equality in the coaching department. There are a ton of good young guys out there - both black and white - and in this case it isn't that Louisville, Virginia and Kansas went out to make a big political point by hiring a black coach. These programs simply hired men that know how to coach football.

So like I said, I'm not trying to play the role of a civil-rights leader, I just wanted to let it be known that this was a good start, and it needs to be noticed here on I would love to see the day where of the 66 AQ schools, there are 33 white coaches and 33 black coaches (no offense to non-AQ schools, just using a numerical example).

Here is a quick look at the three men:

* Charlie Strong - Louisville. Age: 49. Previous coaching/playing: Strong is a journeyman in the coaching business, finally getting his shot at the top. He has bounced all over, three times going back to Gainesville as assistants in various roles for Florida. He has also coached at Notre Dame, South Carolina, Ole Miss and Texas A&M. He played his college ball at the University of Central Arkansas ('80-'83). Strong is a defensive-minded coach who has had some of the nation's better units while serving as defensive coordinator at Florida and South Carolina.

* Mike London - Virginia. Age: 49. Previous coaching/playing: London was 24-5 in two seasons as the head coach at Richmond. His Spiders just won the Division1 FCS national championship over Montana. He has also coached with the Houston Texans and Boston College. London is a UVA alumni, the second straight alumni to coach the Hoos. London was a defensive back in Charlottesville from 1979-1982. London also spent several years with the police force in Richmond, Virginia before pursuing coaching.

* Turner Gill - Kansas. Age:  47. Previous coaching/playing: Gill is a Nebraska Cornhusker at heart. He played for NU from 1980 to 1983 under legendary coach Tom Osborne. He also served the Huskers as an assistant in various roles from 1992-2004. After a quick stop with the Packers, Gill went on to Buffalo, where he took a team that was as bad as any team in organized football to eight wins in 2008.


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