NIC-9 Coaching Diversity

By: Alice Barr
By: Alice Barr

Indianapolis Colts coach Tony Dungy made history Sunday night as the first African American head coach to win the superbowl. African American coaches in the NIC-9 are similarly scarce.
Anthony Grier is a rarity in the NIC-9. He's one of three head girls basketball coaches who are African American. Outside of girls basketball, the only other African American head coach in the NIC-9, in any sport, is a wrestling coach at Auburn.
"It can be a little uncomfortable because of the way the other coaches from the other conferences carry themselves. They look at you like you don't belong there," says Grier.
Grier says one reason there may be a lack in black coaches is a lack in black teachers in the area. He says athletic directors and priniples usually prefer to hire teachers from within the school.
"If you've only got one African American teacher, they may not like sports, so now you're limited. And then you go outside the building which is the least common thing that the teachers want in the building, they don't want no one from the outside because they want you to be there with the kids," says Grier.
Grier hopes the success of Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith will help break down barriers for all coaches. They're among only six African American coaches in the NFL's 32 teams.
"We're not bad guys. You know, some of the images that's portrayed, everybody's not like that and I think once they see that, especially after this Superbowl that's bringing millions of dollars into people, I think they'll just drop that attitude enough to hire a coach and say let me see what you can do," says Grier.
Rockford School District 205's athletic director Diane Peterson says the district is always on the lookout for talented minority coaches to serve as role models for young athletes. She doesn't know what accounts for the shortfall.


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