Hiring report card: 14 earn top scores

INDIANAPOLIS -- Colleges and universities may finally have a formula for producing more racially diverse coaching hires.

On Wednesday, the second Black Coaches and Administrators women's basketball hiring report card showed a record number of nonwhite coaches (nine) were hired in 2007-08, thanks in part to search committees that have become more inclusive.

The BCA has long contended that adding minorities to those committees would produce better results, and now there's evidence it does work.

Fourteen of 16 schools graded by the BCA received A's for the hires they made before the 2008-09 season. Colorado State, which promoted assistant coach Kristen Holt, was the only school to get an F. And Idaho, which made a coaching change last April, was not included because of an oversight by the BCA.

"I think the institutions deserve a lot of credit for doing what's right, having a diverse pool of candidates and a diverse search committee," said Paul Hewitt, the Georgia Tech men's basketball coach and president of the BCA. "That's all you can ask for."

Overall, these were the best results of any report compiled by the BCA, which has been grading college football since 2004. There are seven black coaches in the Football Bowl Subdivision, which will soon have 120 full-time members.

Women's basketball is the only other sport, so far, that has been tracked by the organization.

Clearly, the women's game is progressing faster than football.

The number of nonwhite hires in women's basketball surpassed last year's total of seven and there are now 24 minority coaches nationally -- 20 black women, three black men and one Hispanic.

Ball State, Navy, North Texas, Temple, UCLA and Western Michigan received straight A's in the four categories -- the number of contacts with the BCA, the composition of the search committee, the number of minority candidates interviewed and the length of the search. Alabama, which received a B, was the only school other than Colorado State not to receive an overall grade of A.

Schools were asked to mail, e-mail or fax the data to the Insitute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport and were then given a month to amend the data, if necessary.

Grades are calculated by adding the number of points, which correlates to a letter grade. For instance, if a school contacts the BCA twice, conducts 30 percent of its on-campus interviews with nonwhite candidates and has a search committee in which 30 percent of the members are minorities, the school would receive an A, or five points, in each category. Schools that hire a nonwhite candidate also receive 2.5 bonus points that is added to the overall grade.

Colorado State received its poor grades because the school did not conduct an external search after firing former coach Jen Warden in March 2008.

Yet while the percentage of blacks and Hispanics interviewed dropped from 45 percent in the 2008 report to 38 percent this year, the percentage of minorities on search committees increased from 30 to 35 percent over the same period.

The result: More black and Hispanic coaches (56 percent) were hired last year than the previous year (36 percent).

"I think it [the search committee] has something to do with it, without a doubt," BCA executive director Floyd Keith said. "There is definitely a correlation between opportunities presented to people of color when more people of color are included in the search."

The BCA still has some concerns, though.

Keith pointed to statistics that show nonwhites account for 22.6 percent of all men's basketball coaches, compared with 13.6 percent in the women's game, and there remains a 10-point disparity between men's and women's basketball when calculating the percentage of black and Hispanic players against the percentage of nonwhite coaches.

But he believes this year's grades are promising and sustainable.

And, Hewitt contends, that the changes made in women's basketball could help in other sports, such as football, too.

"Schools should be commended for doing the right thing," he said. "I think the fact you have different points of view on the committee ensures that you will hire a candidate who can handle the many different complexities of coaching."