Thursday, May 6, 2021
Black Coaches in March Madness
By Amanda Scurlock, Sports Writer
Published March 23, 2016
Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie shouts instructions during the first half in a regional semifinal against Iowa State in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Friday, March 28, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Connecticut coach Kevin Ollie shouts instructions during the first half in a regional semifinal against Iowa State in the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament Friday, March 28, 2014, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

The NCAA National Basketball Tournament has featured buzzer-beating shots, several upset matches, and talented college players. Among the 68 teams in the tournament, 12 have African American head coaches.

Cuonzo Martin is in his second season as the head coach for the California Golden Bears. Last year, he guided the Golden Bears to 18 wins and a trip the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 tournament. Martin led California to 23 overall wins, leaving them in fourth place in Pac-12 rankings this season. The Golden Bears lost to Hawai’i in the first round this year.

Rod Barnes has coached the Cal State Bakersfield Roadrunners for five seasons. During the 2014-2015 season, Barnes aided the team to a 14-19 record. The Roadrunners premiered as a Division I team during his first season as head coach. This year marks Bakersfield’s first NCAA tournament appearance.


A Los Angeles native and alumni of Crenshaw High School, Kevin Ollie is in his fourth season as the head coach of the University of Connecticut (UCONN) Huskies. He led the Huskies to the NCAA championship title in 2014. UCONN defeated Colorado 74-67, but lost to Kansas in the second round 61-73.

Rodney Terry, head coach for the Fresno State Bulldogs, has coached 13 players that went on to the NBA, including Tristan Thompson, Kevin Durant and LaMarcus Aldridge. The Bulldogs lost to Utah 69-80 in the first round.

Hampton University men’s basketball coach Edward Joyner Jr. was the 2015 HBCU Digest Male Coach of the Year. The Pirates made their third Big Dance appearance this year, clinching a NCAA tournament berth in 2015 and 2011. The Pirates lost to the top seeded Virginia 45-81 in the first round.

Ed Cooley began his head coaching career with Providence College Friars in 2011. This year, the team made their third consecutive NCAA tournament appearance. After defeating USC 70-69, the Friars fell to North Carolina 85-66 in the second round this year.

Southern University men’s basketball head coach Roman Banks has been coaching the Jaguars for four years. He was the chief recruiter for Southern and is considered to be one of the best recruiters in Louisiana. Holy Cross defeated Southern in the First Four round.

After 6 seasons of being a head coach at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), Shaka Smart spent this season as head coach of the Texas Longhorns. The Longhorns had an overall record of 20-13.  In 2011 Smart led VCU to the Final Four. Texas suffered an upset defeat by Northern Iowa 72-75.


Legendary College Basketball coach Tubby Smith just finished his third season with the Texas Tech Red Raiders. This season, the Red Raiders had an overall record of 19-13. Texas Tech faced the Butler Bulldogs last weekend, losing 61-71.

Tulsa Golden Hurricane basketball coach Frank Haith is the 30th coach for the program. In 2012, Haith became the Associated Press and USBWA National Coach of the Year. The golden hurricane made their 28th postseason appearance. Michigan defeated Tulsa in the First Four Round.

Kevin Keatts is the 10th head coach of the University of North Carolina Wilmington Seahawks men’s basketball team. This season, the Seahawks shot at 45 percent in field goals, averaging 79.4 points per game. UNC Wilmington fell to the 4-seeded Duke 85-93 in the first round.

Yale bulldogs head coach James Jones was named the 2015 Ivy League Coach of the Year. Prior to the 2015-2016 season, Jones clinched 128 Ivy victories and 231 overall wins. He has coached the basketball team for 17 seasons. The Bulldogs upset Baylor in the first round this year.

Categories: Basketball | Sports
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