Tony Dungy On The Lack Of Opportunities for Minority Coaches in College Football: “The NCAA has to be careful – they’re going to lose a lot of their quality people if we don’t get this turned around.”

December 14, 2009 – 12:54 pm by Michael Bean

Tony Dungy seems to be one of the go-to-guys today for sharing opinions and advice on relevant subjects. One such widely discussed topic around this time of year is the lack of minority coaches in college football. Dungy joined Mike Francesca on WFAN in New York to talk about the lack of opportunities for minority coaches in college football, why he thinks that’s still a reality today, how he thinks that’s causing quality people and coaches to leave the collegiate landscape for the NFL where it’s easier to be upwardly mobile, how he thinks the Indianapolis Colts will shut down key players once they’ve secured home field advantage in the playoffs, and how he’s not at all interested in taking a coaching job again – either in college or the NFL.

On the lack of opportunities in recent years for minority coaches in college football in recent years:

“Well it has changed, it didn’t used to be that way. When I was a young coach many guys were leaving the NFL to go to college to get that opportunity to move up. And now it seems to be just the reverse. But I think this has been a great week with Mike London getting the Virginia job, and Charlie Strong getting the Louisville job. I think that’s great to get two minority coaches in BCS schools, it’s a good start.”

On why he thinks there’s been an exodus of quality coaches to the NFL:

“I think the reason why is people like Charlie Strong. Charlie Strong has been an assistant – and a top assistant – for 20 years. He’s won national championships, had the best defense in football maybe two of the last five years. And cannot get, or couldn’t get until [Thursday] a head coaching job. And so he says what more do I have to do? I can’t do much more than I’ve done in creating any more of a resume that I’ve created in college football, and it’s not good enough so far. So that’s why you have guys leaving college football to go to the NFL. And that’s where the NCAA has to be careful – they’re going to lose a lot of their quality people if we don’t get this turned around.”

On what he would do to try to reverse this trend:

“I would start this by having a meeting with the college presidents and say look this is up to you guys to change this. With 2% or 1% of minority coaches in your universities, if you had any other department that looked like this, you wouldn’t put up with it. And you guys are going to have the ones who change it. You can’t hide behind alumni or boosters want this, or we’ve got to hire somebody the whole university is going to get behind. You’ve got to do the right thing, and I think that’s where it has to start – with those presidents and athletic directors.”

On how he thinks Indianapolis will take their foot off the gas and rest key players rather than focusing on achieving a perfect regular season: 

“I really think they will. Just being there with Bill Polian, we talked about it every year. It’s just hard to continue to push and go through that and not rest guys that need to be rested. Because your focus is on getting ready for the playoffs and winning the Super Bowl. And especially now, you look at this concussion issue and how many people are now doubtful or questionable or getting a concussion now and having to sit out. You get a couple of your key players get concussions in Week 17 or Week 18 and have to sit out the playoffs – it would not be smart football to me.”

On the thought that it’s too tough for a team that’s coasted in to the playoffs to match the energy of a team that had to fight and claw just to get in to the playoffs:

“I think you get there, I think it goes with the territory. I played on some teams like that in Pittsburgh, we won the Super Bowl and the last couple of weeks I was playing. I was a backup guy and I wanted Mike Wagner and Donnie Shell to be rested and ready to go. So we had a lot of guys – that was our time of the season – and we played, and we carried the load, and we still had great practices. Those guys still practiced, they didn’t shortchange anything in practice, and they knew how to get ready to go when you had to ring it up again. So I think it can be done, and it has been done a lot. I think you just have to be judicious. You know, you can’t rest everybody. That’s the other thing that people don’t realize. When you rest people, you only have 53 guys, so a lot of guys are still playing. But you have to take care of those guys that need to be rested up and have your best chance of succeeding in the playoffs.”

On if teams and/or colleges have contacted him to see if he’d be interested in coaching:

“People have called and asked if I’m interested. They call and say I hear this, but we have to call and find out for ourself and I tell them all the same thing. I had a great job, if I wanted to be in football, I would have stayed in Indianapolis. I love what I’m doing now, I love working for NBC, and I’m really not interested in taking a job in football, college or professional.”

Listen here to Dungy with Mike Francesca on WFAN in New York

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