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UT Diversity Would Be Home-Field Advantage

Could an African-American head football coach finally be coming to UT?

austin photo: katie friel headshot
Austin Photo Set: News_Kevin_texas vs oklahoma football review_Oct 2012_Mack Brown
Could UT's sidelines use some color? Courtesy of Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Charlie Strong Louisville
Charlie Strong is on the SI short list to replace Mack Brown. Photo by Charlie Strong/Facebook

As far as everyone but Mack Brown is concerned, this weekend could very well be the last time he treks up to Dallas for the Red River Rivalry. In fact, the same week they wrote a piece about the decline and fall of the University of Texas athletics program, Sports Illustrated is back with a piece naming the top five potential replacements for Brown. And he hasn't even lost the OU game yet!

The list is certainly interesting (and the addition of Oklahoma's Bob Stoops is sure to raise some eyebrows), but aside from potential candidates, the list highlights something else entirely.

3. Charlie Strong, Louisville. His SEC pedigree and his ability to bring toughness to the program would be ideal. (The Longhorns could afford his $5 million buyout, too). Still, Texas has never had an African-American head coach in a men's sport.

We all know there has never been an African-American head coach of football or basketball, but UT athletics has seven men's sports programs (not counting dozens of recreational sports teams), none of which has had a coach of color in the entire 63-year history of integration? Yup. In fact, UT's first African-American head coach ever arrived barely a decade ago, when Bev Kearney was asked to head the women's track program (she resigned after allegedly having an affair with a student).

It's not just Longhorns fans who need an African-American head football coach; it's Austin in general. While our city has seen astronomical growth in technology and tourism over the past decade, we are, at our burnt orange heart, a college town. With African-Americans leaving Austin's urban core at alarming rates (there are 27 percent fewer African-Americans living in Central East Austin today than in 2000), the time has come to commit to diversity, and there is no better place to start than on our hometown football field.

Our quality of life depends on diversity. Hiring men and women of color not only means a better reputation for UT, but is a critical to remaining an attractive, viable option for companies looking at Austin as a place to do business, visit, invest money and allow us the luxury of living in a dynamic, socially progressive city.

While the discussion of diversity in athletics has been happening for some time, it's refreshing to know that there is a real shot at bringing some color to UT's sidelines. And who knows, maybe we'll even win a game or two.

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