Monday, January 29, 2007

UCLA's Unheralded Accomplishment

Much is being made of the upcoming Super Bowl matchup, with the Chicago Bears' Lovie Smith and the Indianapolis Colts' Tony Dungy being the first African American head coaches in the NFL's showcase game. But UCLA's hiring of Jay Norvell as offensive coordinator caught our attention. To the best of our knowledge, UCLA is the only Division I-A team with African Americans at head coach and both coordinator positions, with Norvell, left, coach Karl Dorrell and defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker. In fact, we'll take it another step: this is the first time a I-A team has had three African Americans in the top three coaching slots. Please correct us if we're wrong on this. ... On the surface, it appears Norvell's move was a lateral one because he held the same position at Nebraska. But Norvell is being promised more control of UCLA's offense, something he didn't have at Nebraska, where coach Bill Callahan called the plays. Then there is pay. Norvell, who interviewed in recent months for head coaching openings at Iowa State, North Texas and Boston College, reportedly is getting a $75,000 bump to $300,000. But the most important reason behind the move might have to do with Norvell's wife, Kim, who has cystic fibrosis. Southern California should be a better climate for her. ... As for the hiring of Norvell, it is getting mixed reviews from our friends at Bruins Nation. One thing is certain. The pressure will be on UCLA this fall. The Bruins return a whopping 20 starters.


Anonymous said...

I believe Kansas State had all three HC, OC, and DC were African American.

Anonymous said...

Previous comment is right. 2006 season in Manhattan saw Ron Prince (HC), Raheem Morris (DC), and James Franklin (OC) filling the top three positions. Morris has since moved on and a white coach was hired to replace him.

Anonymous said...

I believe Notre Dame is the only other school with a black offensive and defensive coordinator. ND's head coach is not very black, however.