Grade A work?
Finally had a chance to look at the "Hiring Report Card" Michigan State submitted to the Black Coaches Association for its football coaching search this morning, and as president Lou Anna Simon suggested MSU received an "A" in all five components of the card.
In a letter from associate athletics director Mark Hollis to BCA executive director Floyd Keith, the university stated that it made six contacts with the Black Coaches Association and the NCAA's Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee. The BCA requires two for an "A."
MSU also surpassed the BCA's minimum "A" standard for number of minorities on the hiring committee (30 percent; using its entire seven-person hiring committee, MSU included three persons of color, though only one member of the four-person interview team was black) and in the candidate pool (30 percent; MSU officially interviewed eight people, including black coaches Charlie Strong, Charlie Baggett and Jimmy Raye), and earned a perfect score for following a reasonable time frame (the university took nearly double the two weeks the BCA recommends) and adhering to its affirmative action hiring policies.
Along with Strong, the defensive coordinator at Florida, and NFL assistants Baggett (Miami Dolphins) and Raye (New York Jets), LSU defensive coordinator Bo Pelini, ex-Central Michigan coach Brian Kelly, Cleveland Browns defensive coordinator Todd Grantham and Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks coach Pat Shurmur were the only candidates to get official interviews before Mark Dantonio was hired as coach.
I give the school credit for its diligence and its final grade. According to the BCA, only four of 10 Division I schools who went through the hiring process last year scored an "A." (Three "F" grades were given to schools who did not submit paperwork to the BCA.)
But I can't help but wonder how token some of the interviews were. Raye never stood a shot at getting the job - he was interviewed to appease a group of former players - and Baggett, with a sketchy NCAA history, was a candidate only because he's friends with a prominent MSU trustee.
The BCA encourages a broad interview process as a way of getting more minority candidates head coaching opportunities. Theoretically, the more a worthy candidate like Strong goes through the process, the more his name is bandied about, the more viable a candidate he becomes in the future. As such, it would have been nice to see MSU think outside the box and give up-and-coming coaches like Randy Shannon, who eventually got the job at Miami, Notre Dame offensive coordinator Mike Haywood, UCLA defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker or even Michigan's Ron English an interview.