Pat Forde: 'The scariest thing out there for athletic admin is an angry black coach.'

Yahoo Sports' Dan Wetzel, Pete Thamel and SI's Pat Forde dive into the racism surrounding the hiring and firing of college coaches following the tragic death of George Floyd and the subsequent protests. Subscribe to the Yahoo Sports College Podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

Video Transcript

DAN WETZEL: I've always been struck by this, because I wrote the book "Glory Road" with Don Haskins and the 66 team. So I know a lot of those guys, and one of the first black players Coach Haskins ever had down in Texas Western-- this is the 1966 Texas Western team, if you don't know the story. --was Nolan Richardson. Now when Haskins won the national title, he was 35 years old.

Now you imagine a coach winning a national championship at 35 years old. The job offers that would come in. OK, everybody on earth would want Don Haskins, because he was a hell of a coach. He ended up winning over 700 games and all that. He didn't get any job offers. Eventually, he got offered like Lamar. Oklahoma state called once, whereas as his alma mater.

He got offered a job at the ABA. Nobody wanted Don Haskins, 35 years old, because he was the coach of the black team. They didn't want him, whatever reason. They were making up lists, hundreds of schools for decades. Nobody wanted Don Haskins.

One of his first players, Nolan Richardson, ends up the head coach of Tulsa, ends up in Arkansas, wins the national championship, 1994. 2002, after making four consecutive NCAA tournament, they got a bad year going. People are heated on him. They lose a game at Kentucky. You were probably there. It might have been the Wolves.


DAN WETZEL: And he says after, he's frustrated. He says, they want to take my job. They can fire me tomorrow, and they fired him. Now he had been there 17 years. And rather than somebody at the school calling him up, saying, are you all right? What are you thinking? What's going on?

Well, he's not-- we don't want him. All right, so Arkansas fires him. They're tired of Nolan Richardson. Guess what? They'd kill for four straight NCAA tournament's right now, OK? Nolan Richardson never got hired again.


DAN WETZEL: National championship coach, never got hired. Far as I know, I don't know if anyone even looked at him. He's coaching the WNBA. Could Nolan one be a little tough? Yeah, he can be tough.

They all can be tough. The guy won 508-- he's spent 71% of his games on an NCAA championship. He is, let's see, 78 now. So back then, he was 60 years old. Nobody hired him, so why do you say nothing?


DAN WETZEL: You know, and that's it. So maybe--

PAT FORDE: Look, I mean, you want to talk?

DAN WETZEL: Let me just wrap this up. One coach gets his career stopped by playing black players, and one of the players he plays ends up a coach. They both win the national championship, and he gets his career cut. College sports.

PAT FORDE: And that's the thing. That's the thing. I mean, we have talked about it. We know it. We've seen it for decades, all three of us, but the scariest thing out there for athletic administrators is an angry black coach. It terrifies them, because they're boosters get uncomfortable.

And that makes them uncomfortable, and Nolan Richardson was an angry black coach. He was a great coach. You hired him anywhere, he would win, and his style of play would be immensely popular. But he would also get in the press conference, and he would say things that would make everybody really uncomfortable, if you were of a persuasion that didn't want to hear an angry black coach.

So that we've seen time and time again. I mean, Lavelle Moton, that's probably one reason he's still at NC Central, because he's always been a bit unvarnished as far as coming out and saying what he wants to say. I'm glad USA Basketball has gotten him in their pipeline, which is good. But there's not much reason for him to still be at NC Central, and you know what? It's on people like us probably, too, who make coaching lists of who should get what job, and we put him on there. Shame on us too.

PETE THAMEL: I thought Moton's tweet flurry the other day, where he did a tweet story basically, where he recounted his own encounter with police violence, he and Raymond Felton in his car, where basically, he was pulled over, pushed to the ground, face jammed into the ground. You know, I thought that was just a really powerful show of leadership and a really searing example that went viral. And I'm really glad it did, just because it really hit home of his life experience and what he went through. And I thought sharing that was one of most powerful things we've seen in this college sports space, because it was very tangible, I guess, for me just to hear somebody recount that type of an encounter.

And I was appreciative of that. But sadly, I think we're in a world where that would make, like Pat said, athletic directors uncomfortable, PR people uncomfortable. It would maybe make fans uncomfortable, and I don't know. I think Lavelle Moton in the past few weeks has really done a service to a lot of coaches and a lot of people in college athletics by being just an authentic voice for these times right now.

More From