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Minority college coaches: Fired … then exiled

Few minority football coaches land Division I-A jobs. When those who do lose them, they don't always land on other college staffs. Here are some of the most prominent recent examples:

Sylvester Croom

Where he was: Croom became the SEC's first African-American football coach when he took over at Mississippi State in 2004. The former All-America center at Alabama inherited a team that had three straight losing seasons (8-27 overall, 3-21 in league play). In Year 4, he led the Bulldogs to an 8-5 record (4-4 in the SEC), including a win in the Liberty Bowl — the program's first bowl berth since the 2000 Independence Bowl. He also was the SEC coach of the year that season. But in 2008, the team slumped to 4-8 (2-6 SEC), and Croom was done. He finished 21-38 (10-30 SEC) in his five years in Starkville.

Where he is now: He returned to the NFL in 2009 as the Rams' running backs coach. He had worked as an NFL assistant for 17 seasons, beginning with the Bucs (running backs coach) in 1987. He followed that with jobs at Indianapolis, San Diego, Detroit (offensive coordinator) and Green Bay.

Karl Dorrell

Where he was: Dorrell, a former standout receiver at UCLA, took over at his alma mater for the 2003 season and compiled a 35-27 record in five seasons. That included a 10-2 record and No. 16 final ranking in 2005. But his Bruins never finished better than third in the Pac-10 (2005, which is when he was named the Pac-10 co-coach of the year).

Where he is now: Before becoming a head coach for the first time, he had spent the previous three years as the Broncos' receivers coach, where he worked with Rod Smith and Ed McCaffrey. He joined the Dolphins in 2008 and is entering his third year there working with receivers.

Tyrone Willingham

Where he was: Willingham parlayed solid success at Stanford into the job at Notre Dame in 2002. In his first season, he led the Irish to a 10-3 record and won numerous national coach of the year honors. No other coach had won 10 games in his first season at Notre Dame. But the Irish slumped the next two seasons, to 5-7 and 6-6, and he was fired. He took over at Washington in 2005. But the Huskies struggled mightily, and after a dismal 2008 season (0-12, 0-9 in the Pac-10), he was fired again.

Where he is now: He isn't coaching and is living, apparently comfortably, in the San Francisco bay area. The Chicago Tribune recently reported he was still drawing a healthy check … from Notre Dame. The Irish paid him $650,000 in 2009. (Washington had to pay him $1 million for the final year of his deal a month after his departure.)

Minority college coaches: Fired … then exiled 05/29/10 [Last modified: Saturday, May 29, 2010 8:18pm]
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