Skip to comments.Illinois fumbles chance to hire its first black coach (RACE BAIT ALERT)
Posted on 03/28/2012 10:41:14 AM PDT by Chi-townChief
The University of Illinois has had 16 mens basketball coaches since it began playing the sport in 1906. All of them, from Elwood Brown to Bruce Weber, had a skin pigmentation that resembled Cream of Wheat.
On Tuesday, the school was preparing to hire its 17th coach, John Groce, who is as white (and shorn) as a cue ball.
Apparently, we live in a state with the racial diversity of Iceland.
It was one thing for Illinois to whiff on Shaka Smart, the very successful coach at Virginia Commonwealth, which is what new athletic director Mike Thomas did. Smart, who is African American, had his reasons for turning down the big money Thomas threw at him. So you move on, and Illinois athletic director did, however haltingly.
But somewhere between the wooing of Smart and the apparent surrender with Groce, the Illini abandoned what appeared to be their desire to do the right thing. That would be hiring the first black basketball coach in school history.
If Illinois were about to announce Mike Krzyzewskis hiring, youd shrug and say, whats an athletic director supposed to do? If you can get Coach K to come to Champaign, you get him, even if you previously had vowed you absolutely had to have a black, red or plaid coach.
But this is John Groce, a relatively obscure coach who has done fairly well at mid-major Ohio University. You dont abandon the opportunity to get with the times because he is standing in front of you.
There is not a qualified African-American college coach in the United States who can lead the Illinois program? Really?
There is not a top-notch black college assistant who would love the chance to roll up his sleeves and make the Illini into something special? Really?
This is not a matter of running out of competent black candidates. This is a matter of abandonment. Its an abandonment of principles and values.
Football was bad enough
Some members of Illinois Board of Trustees reportedly were upset when Thomas hired a white football coach to replace Ron Zook. They should be doubly upset about Groces impending hire, given the basketball programs higher profile.
A lot of people want to move past race in this country. Who doesnt? Its a noble idea. But there seems to be this notion that just because we have a black man in the White House, everything is equal now. And maybe thats part of what has happened as Illinois stumbled through the hiring process: Because were in a post-racial moment in our history, perhaps the Illini got a little lazy. They took a stab at a black coach or three and gave up. Skin color doesnt matter anymore, right?
But when the majority of the people playing basketball at the Division I level are black and youve never had an African-American coach pace the Illinois sideline in a hideous orange sport coat, youre kidding yourself. Skin color matters by the jarring absence of it.
Illinois has indeed moved past race; the problem is, it never stopped long enough to notice how bad it looks to have gone more than 100 years without a black coach. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the states black population is 14.5 percent. The schools undergraduate black enrollment is less than 7 percent.
At what point do the whiteout conditions on Champaigns sidelines become a slap in the face? At this point. In essence, the Illini are saying that after more than 100 years of basketball, they still cant find an African American to coach a sport that is made up primarily of African Americans.
How is this possible in 2012?
Necessary and overdue
The indignation here has nothing to do with the Chicago Public League and what appears to be its long-standing disgust with the state university. This is much, much bigger than a group of coaches who believe the Illini havent paid homage to them over the years. Its certainly not about a black college coach being better able to recruit in Chicago than a white coach.
No, this is about right and wrong.
Groce might be a great guy, a wonderful coach and the kind of man who can heal a fractured nation. He might turn out to be the best leader in school history. But thats not the point.
You can drive from Chicago down I-57 toward central Illinois and not long after start to feel youre in a different world. Traffic thins. Cornfields start to whiz by. And it gets whiter. It looks like its about to get whiter still.
I’m confused. I thought we weren’t supposed to consider race when hiring people.
By what rule of reason or logic does the preponderance of black players mean that a black coach is then required? Must be a Chicago thing...
Welcome to the Obama-nation.
Whiter? The bigoted author clearly hasn’t spent much time in Champaign-Urbana!
tom bredar 6:03 AM on March 28, 2012 I think the Sun-Times needs to Have more African American Sports writers. It is just unimaginable that in this day and age that we have to read garbage from old white cream of wheat writers who are bent on causing trouble for the States Land grant university, Come on Editors, get with the times.
You hire the best coach available. Shaka Smart turned down the offer. He is black.
I think on average, whites have moved beyond race. Now if we can get the vocal liberal race baiters to join us, this country might get back to accomplishing something.
His point is clearly that the school should judge a coach by the color of his skin, not by the content of his character.
Usually, racists find ways to avoid being as blunt and honest as this bigoted typist.
Quick question for Mr. Morrissey: Are you saying that being white causes Groce to be unqualified for the job? If so, are you comfortable with the ideological precedent that sets?
I know, of course, that a liberal will never answer these two questions truthfully.
Illinois is both a morally and fiscally bankrupt state, yet the mass media focus is upon a coach’s skin color. If college sports went away tomorrow, how would the value of a degree decrease?
Another bell tolls for Chicago print media.
So if a school of predominantly white athletes decides to hire a coach, should they have the attitude of no blacks need apply? Would that be considered acceptable?
This is one of the most racist articles I have read in some time. ‘Judge people only by skin color, not qualifications’
Incredible. Worse yet, we have a President and Attorney General that support this notion.
John Groce (born September 7, 1971 in Muncie, Indiana) is an American college basketball coach and the current head coach of the Ohio University men’s basketball team. Groce was named as head coach June 27, 2008 to replace Tim O’Shea, who resigned to take the head coach position at Bryant University.
Groce started his coaching career as an assistant and his alma mater, Taylor University from 1993 to 1996. His next job was an assistant at North Carolina State University under Herb Sendek from 1996-2000. He then moved on to Butler University to join his good friend Thad Matta and was there just one season, 20002001. Together they then moved onto Xavier University where he was an assistant from 20012004, and moved again with Matta to Ohio State University as an assistant from 2004-2008 before finally getting the head coaching job at Ohio University.
Groce graduated from Taylor in 1994 and played for the Trojans while he was there.
Groce is currently considered one of the top candidates to become the next head coach at the University of Illinois. Illinois competes in the Big Ten conference.
Sigh. Sometimes I miss the racist, guilt-stricken urinalists in Chicago. Then, I read Kass online and wonder, does he laugh in Morrissey's face at the urinalist get-togethers?
I sure as hell would!
I think he needs to spend some time at one of the high-schools in E. St. Louis.
the coaches resembled “cream of wheat” skin color? what would a black coach skin color resemble, “milk duds” ?
Kentucky made its affirmative action hire a decade or 2 back and after winning the national championship in his first year WITH RICK PITINO’S TEAM, the black coach took one of the premier basketball programs in the nation to perpetual mediocrity! He had to be fired IN spite of being black, just as he was HIRED because of it!
Maybe the trustees don't want to have a HOODIE wearing coach at the moment!! /s
Hey, guy, it's not like your team is going to the Final Four in the next 10 years anyway...eat a salad and chill...
What if this was said about a black coach?
“had a skin pigmentation that resembled Cream of Wheat”
-— had a skin pigmentation that resembled Coco Wheats -—
“who is as white (and shorn) as a cue ball”
-— who is as black as a eight ball -—
Sports teams often boast more black people than the proportion in the general populace, and does anybody complain this is unfair?
Whoever does the best job of coaching will serve both the white and black (and red and yellow) people on the sports team best. It should not matter whether that person is a green Martian.
And if the black coach sucks why would that be the right thing. I would think any thinking man would hire the best coach for the job and not worry about the color. Hiring someone just because they are black is just as racist as hiring someone just because they are white or red or yellow. Quotas suck.
Maybe they don’t want to pay those high taxes.