See the lates updates: When (Fans Hope) A Southern University Will Do The Right Thing :: And They Don’t
Auburn Pursues Turner Gill
University of Buffalo Coach Sought by Auburn Tigers
Image from the Turner Gill Facebook group, Turner Gill for the Auburn Tigers Head Football Coach
Auburn University, one of the traditional powers in NCAA college football, is pursuing a new coach. Auburn is often considered one of the top 25 college coaching jobs. So, what makes this news?
Race. Ethnicity. PR.
Auburn is also the land grant institution for the State of Alabama. Land grant colleges were created, in part, to provide education for minorities – primarily blacks. (Source)
According to Auburn, the university’s Fall 2008 black / african-american enrollment is 1,642 students. Given that the school’s caucasian / white enrollment is 17,225, black students represent 0.087 of that enrollment, less than nine percent. (Source) The total caucasian & african-american enrollment for Fall 2008 at Auburn is 18,867. This is in a state where over 26% of the population is black / african-american. (Source)
Mississippi State won the honor of breaking the diversity / race barrier by hiring Sylvester Croom, five years ago. Croom recently resigned. There are some, perhaps many, that wish Auburn had been the leader in this regard.
The number of black coaches in the major NCAA programs is still lacking. The number dropped from six to three this year.
Already, two Facebook groups have sprung up calling on Auburn to hire Turner Gill. See Turner Gill for the Auburn Tigers Head Football Coach and Turner Gill to Auburn
An Auburn favorite son, Robert Gibbs, helped send Barack Obama to The White House this year. (Note: Gibbs grew up in Auburn. His parents worked in the Auburn University Library for over two decades. Robert chose to attend school at NC State. Still, he holds a fondness for Auburn and has spoken about Auburn many times on national television.)
Another Auburn favorite son, Charles Barkley recently said Auburn should hire Turner Gill. Perhaps Barkley can do for Gill what Gibbs did for Obama.
Gill is reportedly meeting with Auburn today. Read Gill’s appeal heating up, Auburn is latest to come calling.
There are many people in sports forums expressing concerns about taking a chance on such an unproven coach.
It will be interesting to see if Auburn will do the right thing and hire Turner Gill.