I spent nearly three decades of my life as a high school football coach in the state of Texas, where football holds immense importance. I had the privilege of coaching at two historically Black high schools in Houston—Wheatley and Jack Yates.
Jack Yates High School, in particular, has a remarkable football legacy, having clinched a state championship in 1985, which was arguably the greatest high school football team in Texas high school history.
During my time as a coach, I had the opportunity to work under the guidance of outstanding coaches such as the late Edward G. Robinson at Wheatley and Sterling, as well as the late Maurice McGowan at Yates—both highly esteemed coaches and high school football Hall of Famers.
These coaches provided me—a young and aspiring coach—with invaluable opportunities to learn and grow. They entrusted me with the responsibility of working with the varsity football team, which I consider a true blessing.
I became aware, through conversations with numerous Black coaches, of the obstacles they had to face and overcome in order to secure a chance to coach varsity football under the leadership of a white head coach. Some of them were explicitly told that they would never become varsity coaches. Instead, they were assigned to coach freshman and junior varsity football for many years. They were tasked with scouting opponents on game nights, driving the team bus, filming game practices, breaking down game film, laundering uniforms, tending to the football field, and were often excluded from coaches’ meetings and game planning sessions.
Additionally, they were burdened with numerous other duties.
Although these responsibilities are part of the learning and growth process for all coaches, Black coaches oftentimes have had to endure this process much longer than their white counterparts, who in many cases are younger with less experience.
Colorado Buffaloes head coach Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders and his team have been under attack by other college coaches. It’s obvious they have an issue with his team’s early success. They’re off to a great 3-1 start. Some coaches have resorted to taking verbal jabs or making unwarranted remarks about his use of social media, and the visits from former professional teammates, actors, and various musical artists who visit practices and games.
These coaches are a part of that “good old boy” system that has existed in the coaching profession for decades. I’m sure they’re having conversations about the impact he’s having on the college game moving forward, in particular, his ability to recruit 5-star athletes and his use of the Transfer Portal.
It is essential that we acknowledge and address these issues to foster a more inclusive and equitable environment within the sport.
Every coach, regardless of their race or background, should be given equal opportunities to showcase their skills, contribute to the game planning process, and help guide their teams to success. By embracing diversity and promoting equality, we can create a more united thriving football community.
Black coaches are rarely given the opportunity to be the head coach of a Power-Five D1 program. And when they do, most of them are only given a three-year window to win and turn around dormant programs.
“Coach Prime” has struck fear in these coaches with his God-given ability to literally lead young and rebuild the Colorado program to respectability overnight.
Like him or not, “Coach Prime” is always going to be “Coach Prime”—Brash, Bold, and Confident. Like he says, “he is keeping receipts” and “you better get me now…this is the worst we’re gonna be.”
“Coach Prime” said he was going to bring his Louis (as in Louis Vuitton) type athletes when he first arrived. He just brought enough to carry on. You best believe he is loading that plane up with a team full of Louis Vuittons and he is putting the college football world on notice.
Coach Prime, save me a seat on the plane!
I Just Tell It Like It Is!!!
Burl “The Coach” Jones