Hiring of Black Football Coach Causes a Stir at the Univerity of Texas

image_handler.aspxCharlie Strong was hired as the head football coach at the University of Texas, one of the premier jobs in college football. Strong is the first African American head football coach at the University of Texas, which was the last major college football program to racially integrate its team. Now along with Kevin Sumlin at Texas A&M University, the state’s two major football powerhouses have Black head coaches.

Strong comes to the University of Texas after spending four years as the head coach at the University of Louisville, where he amassed an impressive record of 37-15 at a school that had a record of 15-21 in the three years prior to his arrival.

Despite Strong’s impressive credentials, long-time booster Red McCombs, who was co-founder of Clear Channel Communications and is a major contributor to academic and athletic programs at the University of Texas, stated in a radio interview the he was stunned with Strong’s selection. “It think it is a kick in the face,” he told the interviewer. “I don’t have any doubt that Charlie is a fine coach. I think he would make a great position coach, maybe a coordinator.” McCombs has contributed more than $100 million to the University of Texas. The school’s business school is named in his honor and there is a statue of him in the university’s football stadium.

McCombs later apologized to Coach Strong and pledged his “total support.” McCombs said that he was troubled that his comments were perceived as having to do with race. “I didn’t even think about that,” McCombs told the San Antonio Express-News.

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  1. If you take race out of the picture and just look at numbers, McCombs has a point. Texas is arguably a top 5 program. Texas is definitely the #1 football state. So to hire Coach Strong for the program is a bit of a reach. But my question is, who else? I’m sure Coach Strong was not the first and only coach interviewed. Just saying.

  2. If objections to hiring Coach Strong aren’t about race, I’d like to hear what they “really” are about. Sure can’t be about his coaching ability. Any school should be thrilled to hire a coach who turned around a losing program at a major university to post a 71% winning percentage during his time there. That’s qualified. But as we’ve seen with the scorched-earth attacks on President Obama, the radical right and the racial bigots in our society (I know, that’s kind of redundant) are determined to make sure that no African American is seen as capable or competent (with the narrow exception for those who embrace the radical right’s extremist positions). And from the work I’ve done in Texas, it’s pretty clear that Texas is one miserable place to live if you aren’t white and Christian.

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