Doug Williams: Rooney Rule Wouldn’t Work in College Football, Still Need More Black Coaches
Doug Williams was in Tampa on Tuesday for Super Bowl week. Williams was the MVP of Super Bowl 22 with the Redskins and also was the first Black quarterback to play in the Super Bowl. Additionally, Williams was a successful coach at Grambling State and was thought to be a strong candidate for the Kentucky opening back in ’02. The job went to Rich Brooks who turned out to be a good hire, but not getting the job obviously has left a strong impact on Williams. He gave his thoughts on the lack of Black coaches in college football and the Rooney Rule during an interview with the 2 Live Stews on Sporting News Radio:
“I certainly don’t think the Rooney Rule would be effective in college. If you look around at Auburn and everybody else, they interviewed some African-American coaches to say that at least we interviewed ‘em and it’s kind of like a token situation, which is unfair. I thought Turner Gill had the job — I think he would have been an awesome fit.
When you look at all the kids that are out there on the football field, 65-70% of them are African-American. Somewhere along the line, you have to put somebody out there that looks like them … get them an opportunity to say ‘After my playing career is over with, I might be able to coach at Auburn, Alabama, LSU, or Florida.’ But you’re telling them that you can play for me, but you can’t coach for me?”
Williams is so soured on the college game that he says the best option for a Black coach is to go to the NFL. He also says the main reason Black head coaches aren’t hired at major programs is because of the boosters:
“I’m going to go to the NFL because being Black you have a better chance to move up the ladder in the National Football League than you do in Division-I college football, which I think is a sad state today.
The bottom line, we all blame the athletic directors and sometimes we blame the [school] presidents, but at the end of the day, I think it’s the guy that’s putting money in the coffers of the athletic program who really has the last word on who gets the job and who doesn’t get the job.”
I think Williams touches on an issue that a lot of people miss out on when discussing college football hirings: the boosters control a lot more than people realize. Many of the coaches depend on and rely on the money from boosters, so it’s tough to make a hire with which the boosters don’t agree. It seems like it’s hardly an issue in the NFL since there are more and more Black coaches and head coaches in the league, particularly those having success. I guess to get some Black head coaches in college, maybe the Black boosters will have to step up.