Shit Ain’t Fair… We Need Search Firms for Families!

There’s a BIG ASS thumb on the scale in the college coaching market… I am sure Adam Smith is rolling over in his grave. In this particular market, the “invisible hand” has been amputated! You see… Free Trade and open market exchange are SUPPOSED to automatically channel self-interest toward socially desirable ends. However, in the college basketball coaching market free trade and open markets have been usurped. A group of overwhelmingly white men have formed cabal that controls access to the 350 or so Division 1 head coaching positions. This search firm cabal severely limits minority candidate access to these highly desirable positions.

Thumb-on-Scale

In some ways, the existence of these “search firms” is easy to understand…

Choosing a Division 1 basketball or football coach is very difficult task… Where do you begin? These guys are silky smoooooth… They really know how to come across as personable, gregarious and charming. It’s hard not to like most of them… They present themselves well at all times…

They are TOP NOTCH salesmen… Some would say “slick”… The product they are selling, at all times, is themselves…

FN4ic50

Guys like Mark Turgeon (Maryland), Mike Hopkins (Washington), John Calipari (Kentucky – pictured above), Frank Martin (South Carolina – pictured below), Phil Martelli (St. Joseph’s), Fran Dunphy (Temple), Pat Chambers (Penn State), John Giannini (La Salle), Zach Spiker (Drexel), Martin Ingelsby (Delaware), Todd Bozeman (Morgan State), Kevin Baggett (Rider), Joe Dooley (Florida Gulf Coast) and Mike Brennan (American) are ALL good dudes… Spend a few hours with any of these coaches and you will like them…

maxresdefault

The very best among them can sell water ice to Eskimos in the dead of winter… They can sell a furnace to Satan himself… Oh… they use different approaches and different tactics but selling is selling… It’s what they do best… Buyer beware!!

Indeed, the overwhelming majority of the 351 Division 1 Head Basketball Coaches come across as “good dudes” precisely because they are highly capable pitchmen… The questions that ultimately matter are: Which one is best for you? Which one should you entrust with your future? How do you begin to figure it out?

Two distinct groups grapple with these crucial questions year after year: 1) predominantly white male athletic directors, and; 2) predominantly Black families. They bring vastly different backgrounds and resources to the decision-making process. The former are, generally speaking, experienced and well educated. Most ADs have Masters or Doctorate degrees. The latter are, for the most part, novices in the world of college athletics and often lack Bachelors, much less, advanced degrees.

The differences between the two groups are really profound…

One recent survey found that whites are 89 percent, 90.9 percent and 95.9 percent of the athletic directors in Divisions I, II and III, respectively. Additionally, only 8.3 percent of Division I athletics directors are women. Plainly stated, hiring a college coach is, more or less, a white male task.

Conversely, in 2015-2016, Blacks (3,153) made up a majority (57%) of the total number of Division 1 basketball players (5.472). Black Division 1 football players (13,453) also outnumber white players (11,240) and all other racial groups.

Both groups, white male ADs and Black families, routinely face the difficult challenge of selecting a D1 coach… For both groups, it’s an extremely important decision.

Let’s examine the way each approaches selection processes…

On one hand, university presidents and athletic directors have become increasingly reliant on search firms. The aforementioned cabal has assumed the role formerly played by Athletic Directors in the dysfunctional college basketball coaching market. For that, they are handsomely rewarded. It’s not uncommon for universities to shell out anywhere from $50,000 to $325,000 for assistance in making such decisions. Search firms, supposedly, dig deep into the background of the coaches and provide detailed reports to institutional decision-makers. Thereby enabling highly informed and rational decisions. In this way, it is argued, the help the market function better…

However, very little attention is focused on the extent to which qualified minority coaching candidates are EXCLUDED through this process. With search firms in place, they often can’t even get a sniff!

Black families choosing a coach, on the other hand, all too often are left to fend for themselves… They, typically, have little to no experience and even less background information.

Who provides Mom and Dad a detailed report? Who tells them about the 6 players the coach ran off over the past 3 seasons? Who tells them the program has NEVER had a Black Head Coach in 120 years? Who tells them Black players ALL major in Parks and Recreation? Where are the search firms for families?

There are none… In fact, when well-informed AAU coaches or HS coaches offer assistance and guidance, the media and the general public at large are quick to condemn them as “interfering handlers” or, worse, self-centered “pimps.” The cry is to “let the market prevail in a fair and unfettered manner”…

To sum up… Helping athletic directors = good… Helping families = bad…

It’s a highly hypocritical position to hold… Shit makes NO sense…

These days, presidents and athletic directors rarely rely on their own contacts and instincts… They don’t perform their own due diligence… Parents, however, are forced to go it alone in many cases…

The cabal works in the shadows…

Very little is said about the way university administrators use search firms to shield access to their decision-making process. Arguably, search firms are used to favor some groups and exclude qualified candidates from full consideration.

If a candidate is not on the search firms short list, he has absolutely no shot! He can’t even get a fucking phone interview…

Search firm dealings are Top Secret! They clandestinely develop lists of coaching candidates and put out feelers to “preferred candidates” without divulging any information, should the match not be made. Search firms also prevent problematic situations for coaches under contract at other institutions. Their names are usually not revealed as applicants for said opportunity, preventing awkward conversations with current employers. Perhaps, most importantly, an athletic director can place the blame for what could be a future bad decision on the search firm thus save his own ass.

Compare that to the situation faced by families. Every single offer a family receives from a D1 coach is immediately broadcast on several recruiting websites, college message boards, twitter, instagram, local newspapers, etc. Everyone knows the family’s business… Everyone knows which coaches are vying for their child’s services. If they turn down an offer, everyone knows… Unlike, presidents and athletic directors, families have no one to blame for what could be a future bad decision. The media and the general public hold families accountable for their decisions.

NICKB

Shit ain’t fair… We need search firms for families!

Such firms could lead parents to selecting certain coaches in manner similar to the way universities are led to preferred candidates. Search firms could match parents of elite Black prospects with Black coaches, programs that have high Black student-athlete graduation rates and/or programs with Blacks in leadership positions.

LevelleAbout

Of course such intervention would foster heated discussions among the media and university athletic administrators. Such outcomes would be vilified… The media would predictably condemn a process whereby “middle  men” steer prospects to certain coaches…

The same media  is largely silent while “middle men” steer presidents and athletic director to certain coaches…

I call BULL SHIT!!

These consultants offer a mix of headhunting, background checks and other services formerly performed by Athletic Directors. Cost is no object for NCAA D1 institutions.

At the same time, those offering similar “consulting services” to families are commonly labelled pimps and handlers…

But who is truly pimping the game? According to USA Today, Texas paid the search firm Korn Ferry $267,000 for services associated with the hiring of football coach Charlie Strong. Three years earlier Colorado State paid about $320,000 for a company to run its football coaching search.

Tennessee coughed up $50,000 plus expenses for Collegiate Sports Associates to oversee its men’s basketball coaching search which yielded Rick Barnes. George Mason paid $50,000 paid to Parker Executive Search to help them hire Dave Paulsen away from Bucknell. More recently, N.C. State paid $90,000 to Parker Executive Search to help hire Kevin Keatts and Missouri paid $80,000 to Parker Executive Search to help hire Cuonzo Martin.

Street-agents and handlers ONLY look out for themselves we are told… They do a lot of self dealing… Right?

Baker_Dunleavy_Nova_JENSEN08

Well… Last year Quinnipiac University used the Chicago-based search firm, DHR to hire its athletic director. This year, Quinnipiac fired its men’s basketball coach -Tom Moore. DHR receives the contract to replace him. DHR targeted Villanova Assistant Baker Dunleavy (pictured above) who was recently announced as the Head Coach. Meanwhile, Ashley Howard, also an Villanova Assistant (pictured below), is, apparently, not on the search firm short lists for some reason… SMH…

P 30 Ashley Howard Replacement

Hmmmmm… Pretty sweet arrangement for DHR…

Many hardworking single Moms have no awareness of the differences between low-major, mid-major and high-major programs… They don’t know the Big 10 and from the SWAC… They don’t know how to research NCAA Academic Progress Rates… In too many cases, Dad is not involved… Mom may be working two or more jobs trying to keep food on the table…

These folk need help making extremely difficult choices among D1 football and basketball coaches. In my opinion, low to moderate income Black families need help with these decisions waaaaaaaay more than white guys running $20-$200 million dollar athletic departments.

I’m just saying…

Advertisements

3 responses

  1. Del, Very interesting article and very timely given all the closing Coaching vacancies. Somehow after reading your article it appears to be a business opportunity embedded within your message that could assist families with the collective of data that your article mentions. This data collection within an AP or or accessible web site should be mandatory not only for student athletes families but also those AAU programs that give counsel. Regarding the absence of Minority candidates within a search firm short list, it can be tackled a couple of ways. Our elected representatives could petition the NCAA to come up with a sort of Rooney rule for institutions that receive federal or state assistance/ grants. While some may argue that this is akin to Affirmative Action, it could be argued legislatively an extension of EEOC. Secondly, the candidates themselves…contact the search firms indicated, find out what is perceived that you are lacking and then do something to fix it, update your resume, be visible and clear about your aspirations, don’t be afraid to have your AD call the open job’s AD to lobby on your behalf when a jobs come open that you are interested in. Attend all the Minority Coaching Conferences and Association of College Coaches meetings and play golf with those guys (pun intended). Don’t give up!

  2. Great read! I’m a mom that is an exception whereas I know the different conferences and can discuss and research info re schools. I happily know a few others who can too. However, overall I agree with the theme of your article and echo your sentiments.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: