Representation in coaches lacks in national, BGSU sports

Originally published March 7, 2020. Since the publishing of this article, BGSU men’s basketball has hired Steve Wright as assistant coach, putting another person of color on athletic staff at the university.

Roger Goodell, commissioner of the NFL, wants the league to make changes in order to increase the number of minority head coaches, according to a January Bleacher Report article. BGSU also believes there is room for improvement. 

Of the nine head coach openings this off-season, only one minority was hired. In the entire NFL, only four of the 32 teams have a minority head coach. It’s a recognized problem, sport management program coordinator David Tobar said, and the low numbers for coaches of color is not ideal.

“I’m disappointed, but it’s not entirely unexpected. The owners are going to do what they want to do,” Tobar said.

In 2003, the interview process was opened more for minorities when the NFL introduced the Rooney Rule, which requires each team to interview at least one person of color for their head coach position.

“It has done quite significant things. You can see a huge disparity between pre-Rooney Rule era and post-Rooney Rule era,” Sungho Cho, president of the Sport and Recreation Law Association, said.

Cho and Tobar are both fans of the Rooney Rule and believe it should stay. However, they would like to see more rules like this one implemented into the league. 

James Nahikian, assistant director of BGSU athletic communications, thinks the Rooney Rule is not enough.

“There clearly needs to be more done because this rule alone has not solved the problem. It was a good first step, but the issue needs a lot more attention and effort,” Nahikian said.

Nahikian, Tobar and Cho all want to see these changes become one of the NFL’s top priorities. 

BGSU has seven coaches of color: Michael Huger, the men’s basketball head coach; Anthony Stacey, a men’s basketball assistant coach; Juan Carillo, the cross country/track and field assistant coach; Rickey Perkins, the women’s swim and dive head coach; Stephanie Delmacio, the tennis head coach; Paula Comella, the tennis assistant coach; and James Gildon, the women’s track associate head coach. 

“I believe Bowling Green does not have this issue that the NFL does. … If you look down the line within the department, there is strong representation within a lot of programs and departments,” Nahikian said.

The last two coaches of the BGSU football team, Dino Babers and Mike Jinks, were people of color.

“It is not truly remarkable, at least we do have some sign of equal parity and equal opportunities here,” Cho said.

They agree more can always be done, and it is a process to get representation where it should be. 

“Within an NFL locker room, there are a lot of different ethnicities and backgrounds. So why can the same not be said for head coaches across the league?” Nahikian said.