Turner Gill(Kansas) and Larry Porter(Memphis) were fired today after two years.

Submitted by SalvatoreQuattro on November 27th, 2011 at 10:40 PM

When Rodriguez was fired people complained that three years was not enough time. He needed four years at least. 


Well, two coaches got even less time than Rich did at schools with  far less resources to work with then what he had at Michigan. It seems that Kansas and Memphis have less patience than UM  does when it comes to losing.

What is going on in college football? Two years at Kansas and Memphis is all one gets? Really?

I think this is going to be the next big story out of college football. The fact that both coaches--both of whom are black--received only two years is going to spark debate. The racial element is going to be a significant driving force behind this story.

It should be interesting to see the reaction to these firings over the next couple of days. The shortage of coaches who are black combined with extraordinary short tenures allowed each coach tells me that this is a story that is going to blow up over the next week.


coastal blue

November 28th, 2011 at 2:21 AM ^

The problem is - not just in the college football coaching but in many places - is that race becomes the issue when there are other far more logical conclusions to the events at hand. 

Two coaches were fired for going a combined 3-21 and 5-19 in their two seasons. Both coaches were black. Oh, it must be they were fired because they were black. 

But wait...Akron fired Rob Ianello recently after just two seasons with a 2-22 record....AND HE'S WHITE!!! So what is it? Being white grants you a longer leash to the tune of...a single victory? We must end such blatant racism!

I agree with above posters: Two years is not enough time for someone to establish whether or not they can be a successful coach. I would think a 4 year minimum would be necessary. But to say that two coaches who showed zero improvement over two seasons were fired because of their race rather than our society's need for instant gratification seems ridiculous to me, especially since we have a carbon copy example of a white coach being fired for the exact same results. 


November 28th, 2011 at 7:32 AM ^

So, the question shouldn't be asked?  The possibility of racism as an element shouldn't be entertained?  Think about it this way, a lot of people on this board are pissed, and rightfully so, because RR didn't have full support of the university, former coaches and players, and fans from the start.  He was an outsider.  He didn't "get" what Michigan was all about.  Everybody here understands how much of an obstacle that was to having success.  Guess what, minorities in leadership positions often get the same, limited support from the established powers that be in any institution, and any misstep is magnified in their eyes.  I'm not saying race definitely played a role in these cases. At this point, there is not enough information to make definitive claims one way or the other. But it is a possibility and worthy of at least considering.


November 28th, 2011 at 8:43 AM ^

I was at a meet-and-greet reception where benefactors or their representatives are encouraged to mingle with the students who are benefiting from the scholarship largesse--it was at a pretty significant school and no I'm not going to drop any hints about where it was (not either of my alma maters, you won't be able to figure it out). The AD knew I was from a basketball family and started a conversation with me about a new recruit they'd just signed, then dropped the bomb

"And she's pretty bright, for a black girl."

This, in a roomful of major donors the school probably didn't want to offend.

It's out there. It's in places an outsider couldn't know and would never suspect.


November 28th, 2011 at 9:01 AM ^

Of course there's always some other possible or even more likely proximal cause--you'll never get anywhere in the argument just piling up and tearing down anecdotes on one side or the other.

The claim was that black coaches have shorter tenures on average. I can think of three possible explanations for that:

  1. black coaches are on a shorter leash
  2. black coaches tend, on average, to be hired into worse situations
  3. black coaches aren't as effective as white coaches

It's also possible that the claim is simply false, or at least not statistically significant. It should be easy to check.

On first thought I'm inclined to lean toward #2 as the primary explanation if it turns out there's anything needing explaining. Minority coaches aren't, on average, as well networked--they're less lkely to have been the long-time assistant getting the promotion to the top spot when a successful coach finally retires, more likely to be hired when the coaching tree is bare and the program is at a low ebb.

coastal blue

November 28th, 2011 at 11:11 AM ^

I've already done it. 

But please, go back and look at every black coach in the history of college football. 

It does not matter what the job is, whether it is high profile or MAC school, every single one of them has failed at the FBS level outside of - get this - Tyrone Willingham at Stanford and possibly Turner Gill at Buffalo. It looks like Shaw, Sumlin and Strong will join these guys as being successful black coaches as they are all on the right track right now. Do you know what what will happen then? There will be a base for the number of black coaches to increase. Instead of the constant hire and fire that ALL coaches go through, the numbers will increase because everyone isn't constantly on the chopping block.  

I'm not saying that black coaches can't be successful or they are unsuccessful because they are black. I'm just saying that thus far, in history, the vast majority of black coaches have been wildly unsuccessful in the college ranks.   It doesn't matter if the job is Kansas, Memphis, Mississippi State, Notre Dame, Miami or Oklahoma: it just hasn't worked out. It's basically been some sort of variation of the careers of Rob Ianello, RichRod at Michigan and Bill Callahan at Nebraska. 

(side note: I'm aware that black coaches started on backfoot in regards to coaching positions. I just don't think that that really applies to coaches bombing out in the jobs in the 2000s, and 2010s.)


November 28th, 2011 at 9:37 AM ^

The assumption that race is involved when a minority gets a raw deal is what I call the "unintelligent assumption".  For the two cases in discussion, there is no clear substantiated evidence to suggest that race was a factor in their firings.  Still, people like to bring up the race card and unintelligently assume that their is a greater conspiracy at play to deflect from the true issue at hand - they both clearly were not good coaches at their respective schools.  While I'm sure racial profiling exists to a certain (probably small) extent in sports, it is not as nearly as widespread as people like to protray it.  Unfortunately, dropping the race card as much as we do dilutes the instances where true racisms happens.  

People fail to realize that all major sports (excluding hockey), college and pro, are dominated by minority athletes.  There is no more a problem that there is a small number of AA NFL coaches than there are a small number of white running backs, DBs, RBs, etc etc.  Why?  Because sports are a as close to a meritocracy as you can get.  You got score points and you gotta win baby!  And America, southern states or not, doesn't really care the color of skin from whom it comes.