Saturday, February 4, 2023

Hall of Famer Croom: ‘Not enough progress’ for Black coaches

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — Sylvester Croom had a Hall of Fame profession as an offensive lineman at Alabama, and was among the many first Black gamers to develop into a star and group chief below coach Bear Bryant.

Three a long time later, Croom grew to become the Southeastern Conference’s first Black head soccer coach with Mississippi State. That was 2004. Since then, there have solely been 4 others and at the moment there aren’t any Black head soccer coaches within the SEC.

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During this season’s nonetheless spinning hiring cycle, there have been 16 main faculty soccer head teaching vacancies stuffed. Colorado with Deion Sanders is the one faculty to rent a Black coach.

“No, there’s definitely not enough progress,” Croom advised The Associated Press on Tuesday after a news convention with the brand new College Football Hall of Fame class.

“It’s almost 20 years now, and the fact that we still have to have these conversations is disappointing and it’s frustrating. But at the same time, we still have to shed light on the situation as it is and find ways to change it because a lot of good people are being denied opportunities to coach and to lead and to motivate other people. We want to get the best people. …. And doors should not be closed to them simply because of the color of their skin,” he stated.

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Croom was one of 18 former gamers being inducted into the Hall of Fame by the National Football Foundation on Tuesday night time at its awards dinner.

Former Colorado star Rashaan Salaam, who gained the Heisman Trophy in 1994, was inducted posthumously and represented by his mom, Khalada Salaam-Alaji.

Rashaan Salaam took his personal life in 2017.

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“He has received so many accolades and this really caps it off,” she stated.

The relaxation of the category included: LaVar Arrington of Penn State; Champ Bailey of Georgia; Michael Crabtree of Texas Tech; Mike Doss of Ohio State; Chuck Ealey of Toledo; Kevin Faulk of LSU; Moe Gardner of Illinois; Boomer Grigsby of Illinois State; Mike Hass of Oregon State; Marvin Jones of Florida State; Andrew Luck of Stanford; Mark Messner of Michigan; Terry Miller of Oklahoma State; Dennis Thomas of Alcorn State; Zach Wiegert of Nebraska; and Roy Williams of Oklahoma.

The coaches inducted have been John Luckhardt who was a head coach for almost 30 years at Washington & Jefferson and California University of Pennsylvania; Billy Jack Murphy of Memphis; and Gary Pinkel, who led Toledo and Missouri.

Croom, 68, coached 5 years at Mississippi State, taking up a program that was headed towards NCAA sanctions on the time. The Tuscaloosa, Alabama, native went 21-38 and had one successful season.

Larry Templeton, the previous Mississippi State athletic director who employed Croom, stated he didn’t know Croom till he interviewed him however he had gotten glowing suggestions. Templeton stated he was wanting for a coach with unimpeachable integrity and Croom, who had spent years as an NFL assistant, met that standards.

Templeton stated he believes athletic administrators and college presidents have develop into so threat averse with regards to hiring a soccer coach, it limits their searches.

“They’re wanting a proven commodity,” Templeton stated.

The newest FBS faculty to fill a head teaching emptiness was UNLV, which on Tuesday introduced it had employed Arkansas defensive coordinator and former Missouri head coach Barry Odom, who’s white.

Croom pointed to the NFL, which has additionally struggled with lack of minority head coaches however has put insurance policies in place to at the least attempt to deal with the difficulty.

“There has to be a continued dialogue from conference commissioners,” Croom stated. “I definitely think my hiring at Mississippi State was a result of a push by Commissioner (Mike) Slive to make changes and his talking not only to athletic directors, but to presidents and boards of trustees. I think that originated from him.”

Croom stated he has been impressed from afar with the job Sanders did at Jackson State and is dismayed by the criticism Coach Prime has gotten for seemingly utilizing the traditionally Black faculty in Mississippi as a stepping stone to an even bigger job.

Sanders spent three season at Jackson State, successful Southwestern Athletic Conference titles this yr and final.

“He’s earned this opportunity and I think his success has helped Jackson State, has helped the HBCU community, on and off the football field,” Croom stated.

Croom was among the many first Black gamers recruited to play at Alabama by Bryant. That change helped re-ignite the Crimson Tide.

From 1972-74, Croom performed middle on groups that completed within the top-10 yearly and gained three SEC championships. He was a group captain his senior yr.

“The key to it was Coach Bryant,” Croom stated with a smile, “because we were afraid to lose.”

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Follow Ralph D. Russo at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and hear at http://www.appodcasts.com

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AP faculty soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/ap_top25. Sign up for the AP’s faculty soccer e-newsletter: https://tinyurl.com/mrxhe6f2



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