Saturday, February 5, 2011

DB, Hoke, Corwin Brown, and "sunshine."

In Florida, there is a law informally known as the "Sunshine Act." It mandates "government in the sunshine." Supposedly, any decision or discussion of any pending act is supposed to be conducted in public. While the MSM has been blowing a lot of "Michigan Man" sunshine up the keesters of its readers, listeners, and viewers, I think a lot of "sunshine" would be appropriate in the University of Michigan athletic department.

As most ardent Michigan fans know by now, ex-QB Michael Taylor called into WTKA this week, and lambasted the athletic department for not even giving ex-safety Corwin Brown a courtesy call or interview when he applied for a vacant coaching position. Taylor, for those who don't remember, beat Ohio State while playing with a soft-tissue injury that is best described as "torn everything that touches any part of the scapula."

Brown, for those who don't remember, started for two years as a DB, with two victories over OSU during those two years. His resume includes seven years as an NFL player, six years as a college coach, getting as far up the food chain as DC at Notre Dame, and four years as an NFL coach. I know that Brady Hoke and Greg Mattison were busy recruiting, but a coach with Brown's history at least deserved a courtesy phone call.

At this point, the coaching staff looks like "a bunch of old white guys and one token African-American." If I were one of the African-American ex-player/alums who are upset with Brown not even recieving a phone call, let alone an interview, I would have to conclude that there was some racial bias here.

I can't really accuse Hoke of racial bias, though; it's more a function of the system than any overt racial bias. Coaches, like any managers, CEO's, etc, like to hire "their own people" when they take over. People have a tendency to become friends with those with whom they feel they have the most in common. In the coaching profession, by the numbers, that still seems to mean "mostly white guys."

So, because most of the coaches in the game are still white, whenever a coach takes over and wants to hire "guys he's been in the trenches with," most of those "guys" are white. Coaches tend to be coaches because they focus on one thing and one thing only: football. This is not true for all, but for many. Hoke seems to be a guy who lives and breathes football. Consequently, I can't imagine Hoke even noticing that his staff looks like an audition for a new Casper the Ghost movie. But it does.

Where does David Brandon fit in here? Once again, he is asleep at the wheel. While the football guys were coaching football, Brandon was sitting in a cushy office managing personnel and money for two major corporations. There is no way a person with his resume is not familiar with equal opportunity, nor is there any way he can not be aware of the demographics of the coaching staff.

If David Brandon was the leader he pretends to be, he would step in and mandate that Hoke look at qualified African-American candidates. I'm not saying that race should be the only criterion for hiring, though; I am simply saying that there are plenty of qualifed African-Americans to round out the coaching staff.

The University of Michigan supposedly prides itself on its diversity. Sadly, the current coaching staff is antithetical to that so-called "pride." The majority of players on the team, and the majority of highly-ranked recruits, are African-American. Couldn't the staff at least be close to "50-50?"

Maybe casting a little bit of "sunshine" into the hiring process would be a great start.

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