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College Football Coaching: Money Talks, Equal Opportunity Walks

WVU Athletic Director Oliver Luck
WVU Athletic Director Oliver LuckBob Levey/Getty Images
Tony SoteloContributor IIJanuary 14, 2011

Recently the title of “Head Coach-In-Waiting” has become one of the hottest buzz-terms in college football.

The idea of a school naming a predecessor to succeed a current head coach prior to his departure from that institution seems like a good deal for everybody. The school is able to give boosters and recruits a course of action for years to come while locking down a standout assistant or coordinator until their opportunity comes to move into the Head Coach’s office.

That being said I was not surprised when newly appointed West Virginia University Athletic Director Oliver Luck appointed Oklahoma State Offensive Coordinator Dana Holgerson “Head Coach in Waiting” after he serves an obligatory year as Offensive Coordinator under current Head Coach Bill Stewart.

By doing this, West Virginia has ensured that it will not have to interview or consider any minority applicants for this lucrative position that could very well land a young head coach in a BSC game within the next few seasons.

West Virginia is the latest school to publicly announce their coach-in-waiting, joining a list of schools such as Texas, Maryland, Florida State and Oregon who have all declined to promote the idea of equal opportunity by not following state mandated, public sector, hiring policies, but instead tab a  “head coach in waiting” during a closed door, back room deal.

These types of hiring procedures happen all the time in the private sector, but the idea of a public sector job with an attached sign that reads “need not apply” in today’s society brings us back to the days of Jim Crow and the “Good ol’ boy” network where individuals were not considered for certain jobs based solely on race.

I am not making the accusation that every school that names a coach in waiting is racist, but just unfair considering the fact that about 50 percent of college football players in the US are African American, while only three percent of the head coaches are.

The title of head coach in waiting is not only unfair to minorities, but unfair for everybody.  

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