Advantages And Disadvantages Of Being The Minority Coach

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Minority coaches have often seen a significant difference in how their white counterparts get promoted to head coaching positions compared to themselves. In 2008, the Racial and Gender Report Card showed that National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) college sports having the lowest grade for racial hiring practices among all U.S. sporting organizations (Harrison, Lapchick, & Janson, 2009). Other researchers argue though that minority coaches often have more advantages to becoming a head coach such as the BCA (Black Coaches and Administrators) and the NFL Rooney Rule (Makes NFL teams interview at least one minority).

Literature Review

Research Supporting the Research Hypothesis

Bozeman and Fay (2013) researched if position channeling early in the playing careers leads white and African-Americans respectively to gravitate to different positions. The authors gathered data for a set of 50 random minority assistant coaches and 50 random white assistant coaches from the official websites of colleges. The authors calculated the projection of moving from current position to head coach by using the career utility hierarchy value (Level 2 being student assistant/intern and this progresses up to Level 9 being Head coach at another college) from the data gathered. The researchers took the probability for each coach and multiplied that with the hierarchy level information which then showed the percentage of that level becoming a head coach by white and minority. The study found that nearly forty-eight of the fifty white assistant coaches in the sample are projected to receive a head coaching position compared to four of the fifty minority assistant coaches are projected a head coaching position. The authors’ findings show that minority coaches have a considerable amount of underrepresentation in becoming future head coaches.

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Cunningham, Bruening, and Straub (2006) wanted to examine the factors that contribute to the underrepresentation of African Americans in head coaching positions. The authors collected data from assistant football coaches and assistant basketball coaches (n =403) to examine barriers and reasons for leaving coaching professions. The research showed that significant race and sports interaction with African Americans perceiving discrimination as limiting their ability to become a head coach (F =11.33, p. < 0.001). The research also showed that African Americans view race as a barrier to becoming a head coach (F=21.98, p. < 0.001).

Sartore and Cunningham (2006) researched if there was an influence of social stereotypes with the existence of discrimination in college athletics by examining whether sport-related racial stereotypes had any affect in the advancement of applicants with distinction of race and qualifications levels. The authors gave a questionnaire to participants (n =79) requesting them to provide demographic information and respond to items related to the perceived promotability in job applicants using a 7-point Likert scale. The research showed that there were significant differences in race (F = 11.83, p. < 0.01). Research also showed a significant difference for qualifications (F =751.26, p. Research Supporting the Null Hypothesis

Day and McDonald (2010) researched network connections to heterogeneous and homogeneous contacts that appear to be more effective for black coaches than white coaches. The authors examined data on assistant football coaches at the Division 1 level in the NCAA (n =320) and their network connections which resulted in promotion outcomes. The results showed that race homophily benefits both whites and black coaches (F = .893, p. Maravent and Tario (2007) looked at whether Title VII would be beneficial to black coaches. The authors looked at the NFL Rooney Rule and NCAA Football minority coaches (n =119) before and after the Florida Civil Rights Act in 2006 as well as looking at the impact of the Black College Association. The research showed that Title VII has been beneficial leading from NFL having three minority head coaches to seven the next year due to the Rooney Rule as well three minority coaches to seven within the 119 schools increasing 5.8% due to the Black College Association.

Kelly II, Pastore, Hodge, and Seifried, (2015) analyzed black male collegiate coaches’ understanding and their perspectives about creating a coaching career within the NCAA D-1 level and the function of the BCA as a tool to help facilitate more coaching opportunities. The authors interviewed black male assistant coaches (n =7) face-to-face semi-structured taped interviews. The researched showed that four of the coaches viewed the BCA as ineffective for networking as well as all seven coaches having varying viewpoints on the mission statement. The authors concluded that inconsistency is likely due to the lack of having limited knowledge with the BCA because of lack of membership and their perspectives were opinions that came from outsider’s viewpoints which lead to misinformation.


The statistics that show that minorities have a more difficult time in becoming a head coach show they still are not given a fair chance. To give the minority coaches a fair chance, I would interview more minority coaches and seek more minority coaches as well. I would also send the minority coaches that I don’t hire towards other colleges or teams and continue to allow that minority coach to seek their dream of becoming a head coach.


All coaches are different and some minority coaches will not be as qualified so finding the right coach that is the most qualified but also recognizing what they have gone through and how they have persevered needs to be kept in mind. Interviewing more minority coaches will also increase the amount of minority head coaches and give those minorities that didn’t get the head coaching position the motivation to continue to better themselves as a coach.


There has been much debate regarding if minority coaches have had it more difficult compared to their white counterparts. Those who argue against minority coaches often argue that minorities are given more chances and are helped more compared to other white coaches. With research and statistics though, minority coaches are showed to have it more difficult to become a head coach and often shown that promotions don’t come their way.  


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