Temple, Maryland rare DI schools with top black leaders

FILE - Ohio State receivers coach Stan Drayton calls out players during NCAA college football practice in Columbus, Ohio August 16, 2011. New Temple coach, Stan Drayton, is one of 15 black head coaches currently set to start next season at 131 FBS Schools.  (AP Photo/Terry Gilliam, File)

FILE – Ohio State receivers coach Stan Drayton calls out players during NCAA college football practice in Columbus, Ohio August 16, 2011. New Temple coach, Stan Drayton, is one of 15 black head coaches currently set to start next season at 131 FBS Schools. (AP Photo/Terry Gilliam, File)

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Over the past year, Temple has hired a new president, athletic director and football coach, all black men.

The decisions made Temple the second school playing major college football to have an African American in all three top positions, along with Maryland.

Temple is also the only school among 131 competing at the top level of Division I to have blacks lead the varsity, athletics department, soccer program, and men’s and women’s basketball programs. .

Temple’s choices were unplanned, but they were also more than a coincidence, said university president Jason Wingard.

“It was no more intentional than the reverse,” Wingard said, referring to the far more common occurrence in major college sports of a white man hiring another white man.

Much like the NFL, major college football has struggled to address the shortage of black-headed football coaches in a sport where the majority of players are black. According to the most recent data compiled by the NCAA, 45% of Power Five conference football players during the 2020-21 season were black and 37% were white. In the other five FBS conferences, 51% of players were black and 33% white.

Only 10% of head coaches were black and 82% were white. Ten years ago, 14% of FBS head coaches were black. New Temple coach Stan Drayton is one of 15 black head coaches currently set to start next season at 131 FBS schools.

When discussions turn to raising those numbers, the focus is often on the pipeline to the head coaching office and trying to raise the profile of black assistant coaches. Maryland coach Mike Locksley’s National Coalition of Minority Football Coaches is trying to lead the way in these areas.

Equally important, Wingard said, is the trickle-down effect that comes from greater diversity among those who ultimately make those hires — athletic directors and college presidents.

“I’m not calling you or anyone else racist, but we have experiences and we have biases based on those experiences. And so we all tend to be more drawn to working better with people who are like us and who have shared those experiences,” said Wingard, who wrote an op-ed on the subject after the former Dolphins coach of Miami, Brian Flores, sued the NFL and several. discrimination teams.

“So representation is important,” Wingard added, “because when you have a variety of people as college presidents, when you have women, when you have African Americans, when you have Latinos and Asian-Americans, then their experiences will bring – around them – differences.

Wingard became Temple’s first black president last June. In October, he filled Temple’s long-vacant AD position by hiring Arthur Johnson, whose career as a sports administrator spans 20 years and includes long stints in Texas and Georgia.

“This business is about relationships,” Johnson said. “So who are people most comfortable with? »

Drayton, 51, is a first-time head coach after a long career as an assistant in the NFL and some of college football’s most prominent programs such as Ohio State and Texas.

Drayton’s previous experience in the Philadelphia area as a college coach early in his career was a big part of helping him land the job, along with strong endorsements from those he’d worked with before, said Johnson. He noted that the two did not work closely together in Texas.

Johnson is one of 19 black athletic directors among FBS schools. His longtime friend, Maryland AD Damon Evans, is one of the others.

Evans said advocacy plays a huge role in who gets hired. Locksley’s coalition tried to foster professional relationships between up-and-coming black coaches and college sports administrators to create more advocates. Evans said more black leaders should lead to more advocacy for black candidates.

“You tend to be more in touch, let’s be frank, with people who may look like you or are of your same race, ethnicity or whatever. And also to be more in tune and more aware,” Evans said.

“We have to pay it,” he added.

Drayton said he was proud to be part of a group of leadership rare in college sports. That it’s assembled at Temple, an urban college in North Philadelphia that counts former Hall of Fame men’s basketball coach John Chaney as one of its most influential figures seems fitting.

“It’s a very important time here at Temple and it’s a very important move by the powers that be here at Temple to put in place that kind of leadership,” Drayton said. “And that makes sense.”

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Follow Ralph D. Russo at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen at http://www.appodcasts.com

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Naomi C. Amerson