Pushing for changes in college sports hirings.
For many years there have been complaints about the lack of diversity in college athletic departments when it comes to the big revenue programs. There are just 14 African-American head coaches in big time college football and there are not many African-American offensive and defensive coordinators at major programs. Coordinator positions are a step below the head coaching job and that position is considered a training ground that could eventually lead to the top job. The West Coast Conference is considered a Mid-Major group and does not include football. But it does feature one major men’s basketball program and top of the line college soccer teams. The WCC also has one other thing that none of the other college conferences feature. It is called the Bill Russell Rule, named after the one-time University of San Francisco and Boston Celtics Hall of Fame player. The University of San Francisco is part of the WCC. The Russell Rule is pretty straight forward. The 10-member schools of the WCC have to include a member of a traditionally underrepresented community in the pool of final candidates for every athletic director, senior administrator, head coach and full-time assistant coach position in the athletic department. The new policy went in place on August 2nd. Russell wants to see other college conferences adopt the policy.
Change does not come rapidly in college sports. Russell is not the only one who wants to see more diversity in college sports hirings. University of Maryland football coach Michael Locksley, who is one of the 14 minority head coaches, has formed a group pushing for change. Locksley’s National Coalition of Minority Football Coaches has the University of Alabama coach Nick Saban along with Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin on board. But Locksley is going to need help from college presidents and chancellors. Only the WCC is making a commitment for change.