Five years from now, a football game between Temple and Eastern Michigan may be significant for its role in determining a Big East title or a MAC championship, or even a bowl bid. But unfortunately, last week's meeting between these two terrible teams was notable for only one reason: the color of the coaches' skin.
Temple, which won 31-28, is coached by Ron Dickerson, and Eastern is led by Ron Cooper—two of the three black head coaches in Division I-A. (The third is Wake Forest's Jim Caldwell.) Three black head coaches, out of 106 Division I-A head-coaching positions, is three more than there were last season, but the number is still embarrassingly low.
Like the previous six black coaches in Division I-A history, Dickerson, Cooper and Caldwell have all inherited programs with slim chances for success anytime soon. Going into this season, Temple was 3-19 over the last two years; Eastern was 6-26-1 since 1990; and though Wake Forest won the Independence Bowl last year, only 10 starters returned this year. It seems that the only schools willing to hire blacks as head coaches are those that have nowhere to go but up.
That was once the rule in college basketball, too. When John Thompson took over at Georgetown, the Hoyas were dismal. So was Washington State when George Raveling was hired. Tulsa when Nolan Richardson came on, Tulane when Perry Clark took over, and so on. But they turned those programs around, and their success paved the way for more schools to hire black coaches. Now a game between Georgetown and Tulane is notable only for its outcome.
Maybe that will be the case someday in college football.
Iowa State's 31-28 loss to Iowa made Cyclone coach Jim Walden 0-15 against the Big Ten....
On the way to last season's NAIA Division I championship, Central State clobbered Kentucky State 83-0. Late in that game Kentucky State coach Mo Hunt became angry when Central State coach Billy Joe called a fake punt. When the teams met again last Saturday, Joe called off the dogs early in his team's 68-0 win, but Mo got mad again, this time because Central's fourth-string quarterback was trying long passes late in the game. Said Hunt, "I said it last year, and I'll say it again: Billy Joe is a quality coach, but he's not a quality man."