Time right for State to hire Croom as coach

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 5, 2003

It’s about time. Mississippi State University on Monday became the first Southeastern Conference school to hire a black head football coach, Green Bay Packers assistant Sylvester Croom.

Croom was a candidate for the same job at the University of Alabama earlier this year, a coaching search that turned a national spotlight on the SEC’s lack of minority leadership.

The SEC was the last major Division I football conference not to have had a black head coach, but even now only four of the coaches are African-American.

Email newsletter signup

Croom now joins that short list.

But it’s important to note that he wasn’t hired because of his race; he was hired because Mississippi State &045; and many others &045; believe he will make a good coach.

Croom has a resume that would make any university president come calling &045; he played for and worked for coaching legend Paul &uot;Bear&uot; Bryant at Alabama, played a year with the New Orleans Saints and assisted with four NFL programs before working the last two years as running backs coach in Green Bay.

But, inevitably, it is Croom’s race many people focus on today, because his hiring makes history.

Now that we can celebrate this milestone, though, it’s time to step back and simply let Croom coach.

His tenure at Mississippi State, a troubled program with the NCAA already breathing down its neck, will be challenging enough without the added pressure of being such an historic &uot;first&uot; in his conference.

Let’s assume he won’t be the last &045; for this college football conference or any other.