Mar 12, 2012
Illinois AD Considering Race In Hiring New Coach

ESPN, Scott Powers

http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/colleges/post/_/id/5668/race-will-be-a-consideration-in-illinois-hire

Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas has said he plans to have a diversified candidate pool in the search for school’s next basketball coach. But it is uncertain how much of a factor race will ultimately be in the process — and whether Illinois will change its athletic history.

The fact is Illinois has never hired an African-American head coach in men’s basketball or football. Nebraska and Purdue are the only other Big Ten schools to have never done the same.

Part of the reason Illinois is in that category is circumstantial — at least recently. Thomas reportedly pursued Kevin Sumlin, an African-American, for Illinois’ football opening in December. Sumlin, however, turned down the Illini and opted for Texas A&M.

However it may have gotten there, Illinois is still in a category that doesn’t reflect well on the university and its diversity.

“I do feel it’s a negative, ESPN college basketball analyst and Illinois alumnus Stephen Bardo said. It sends a certain message that doesn’t resonate well with student-athletes from urban areas. The previous regime liked to stay in their comfort zone, but the rest of the Big Ten is much more progressive and in many ways more successful.”

Two Illinois board of trustees members brought a higher level of public awareness to Illinois’ lack of African-American head-coaching hires when they voted against the appointment of football coach Tim Beckman on Jan. 19. Trustees James Montgomery and Lawrence Oliver said they had nothing against Beckman but were disappointed Illinois hadn’t aggressively pursued an African-American coach.

Oliver spoke with ESPNChicago.com on Jan. 20 and explained why he voted as he did.

“I think over years and decades a fair process should produce some diversity in those high-profile positions, and it just hasn’t happened, Oliver said on Jan. 20. The vote more than anything was to bring some attention to the fact, ‘Listen, there are a lot of qualified African-Americans in these two major college sports. For some reason, we’ve never done it.’ I wanted folks to be mindful of that. My vote was essentially to raise the awareness of it and hopefully more thought will be put into future considerations.”

Race Will Be Considered In Illinois Hire

ESPN, Scott Powers

http://espn.go.com/blog/chicago/colleges/post/_/id/5668/race-will-be-a-consideration-in-illinois-hire

Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas has said he plans to have a diversified candidate pool in the search for school’s next basketball coach. But it is uncertain how much of a factor race will ultimately be in the process — and whether Illinois will change its athletic history.

The fact is Illinois has never hired an African-American head coach in men’s basketball or football. Nebraska and Purdue are the only other Big Ten schools to have never done the same.

Part of the reason Illinois is in that category is circumstantial — at least recently. Thomas reportedly pursued Kevin Sumlin, an African-American, for Illinois’ football opening in December. Sumlin, however, turned down the Illini and opted for Texas A&M.

However it may have gotten there, Illinois is still in a category that doesn’t reflect well on the university and its diversity.

“I do feel it’s a negative, ESPN college basketball analyst and Illinois alumnus Stephen Bardo said. It sends a certain message that doesn’t resonate well with student-athletes from urban areas. The previous regime liked to stay in their comfort zone, but the rest of the Big Ten is much more progressive and in many ways more successful.”

Two Illinois board of trustees members brought a higher level of public awareness to Illinois’ lack of African-American head-coaching hires when they voted against the appointment of football coach Tim Beckman on Jan. 19. Trustees James Montgomery and Lawrence Oliver said they had nothing against Beckman but were disappointed Illinois hadn’t aggressively pursued an African-American coach.

Oliver spoke with ESPNChicago.com on Jan. 20 and explained why he voted as he did.

“I think over years and decades a fair process should produce some diversity in those high-profile positions, and it just hasn’t happened, Oliver said on Jan. 20. The vote more than anything was to bring some attention to the fact, ‘Listen, there are a lot of qualified African-Americans in these two major college sports. For some reason, we’ve never done it.’ I wanted folks to be mindful of that. My vote was essentially to raise the awareness of it and hopefully more thought will be put into future considerations.”






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