Tate: 'No' vote puts Thomas in tough spot

Tate: 'No' vote puts Thomas in tough spot

CHAMPAIGN — Disappointment swept through Illini Nation last week when two of three black trustees, James Montgomery and Lawrence Oliver, cited racial concerns in voting against the five-year contract given new football coach Tim Beckman.

It is a fact that Illinois, Purdue and Nebraska are the only Big Ten universities who have never had a black head coach in football or basketball, and they are three among 11 schools in the six major conferences. Several Big Ten members have met the Montgomery-Oliver requirement briefly by promoting assistants: As examples, Bobby Williams succeeded Nick Saban at Michigan State, and Mike Davis took over for Bob Knight prior to Kelvin Sampson's ill-fated two-year run at Indiana.

But if the two UI trustees wanted to register a protest, why did they choose to publicly embarrass the hiring boss, Mike Thomas, and make Beckman feel he wasn't wanted? Geez, hasn't the university had enough problems without pummeling itself? The trustees surely understood that their "no" votes wouldn't change anything. Why not make their point to Thomas in private?

There is method to their madness and, if it was an unheard dog whistle for some, it didn't miss my radar: Their minority opinion — excuse the reference — was a thinly veiled move to put Thomas on notice that, when the time comes to change the men's basketball assignment, it better be an African-American.

Montgomery and Oliver hail from Chicago, where the large African-American culture lives and dies with its basketball. And they're hearing plenty of scuttlebutt up that way, as well as down this way, that Bruce Weber is not long for the job if his Illini continue to struggle. The trustees weren't really trying to dump Beckman. They were simply shoving a foot in the door in anticipation of the next go-round, whenever it happens.

Looking ahead

Black business and political leaders have been waging years-long battles to shoot down the good 'ol boys network and see more black coaches promoted to head jobs. To satisfy this ongoing demand for diversity, Ron Guenther was obliged to interview black candidates even if he already had a plan to hire, say ... Bill Self or Ron Zook. Not saying Guenther had his mind made up, not saying he would or wouldn't have hired Sampson without their mixup, but who knows?

This interview process is carried out without anyone really knowing whether it is serious. At the NFL level, interviews are mandatory, the "Rooney rule" requiring that African-American candidates be at least considered.

Thomas performed his due diligence. It was reliably reported, and has been confirmed by a variety of sources, that he offered the UI job to Houston's Kevin Sumlin, who decided instead to become the first black football coach at Texas A&M. Thomas was prepared to pay more to Sumlin than he ultimately paid Beckman, so it wasn't a courtesy interview. Sumlin would have been a big hit on this campus. He preferred to stay in Texas and play in the SEC.

Thomas indicated he discussed the job with other minorities, and it is believed that he talked to former Illini Kirby Wilson before the Pittsburgh Steeler assistant was severely injured in a house fire.

My complaint is not that Montgomery and Oliver are on an improper mission, but rather that it was inappropriate to publicly hang this around the neck of Thomas. Of course, if they're impatient, they have good reason. According to Jon Solomon of the Birmingham (Ala.) News, there was a 37-year gap between the SEC's first black football player and the first black head football coach. When national statistics show that 46 percent of the football players are black, my first response is, "Yeah, but the percentage of starters on defense are way, way beyond half, and the same is true at running back and receiver." And yet there were only 19 black head football coaches among 120 large schools.

So, to Montgomery and Oliver, there is merit to your mission. But you'd have a hard time convincing me that you didn't have basketball on your mind when you did it.

Looking back

One last look at the Wisconsin game, enumerating the reasons for a 67-63 Illini failure:

— Jared Berggren's bumping, shoving defensive job on Illini Meyers Leonard was extraordinary. After an opening dunk, Leonard scored only one more basket while Berggren was in the game, the UI sophomore breaking loose for nine points and shooting Illinois ahead 50-46 while Berggren sat out with three fouls. Berggren returned and took charge, running his point total to 18 after five straight games in single figures. Weber's comment: "Berggren got the better of it."

— Brandon Paul, who scored 43 in his last Assembly Hall outing, was held to four points going into the last four minutes, by which time the Illini trailed 58-53. Wisconsin outscored the UI 27-9 on treys.

— Down the stretch, Illinois couldn't stop Wisconsin from scoring. The Badgers committed just two second-half turnovers and scored eight points on three offensive rebounds as a 46-43 Illini lead turned into a 55-53 deficit. That was followed directly by Berggren's killer trey and his rebound goal at 60-57, which led to a final minute of free throws.

Loren Tate writes for The News-Gazette. He can be reached at ltate@news-gazette.com.


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illiniart wrote on January 23, 2012 at 11:01 pm

The actions of those two trustees shows that they do not have the class nor the commitment to the success of the U of I to be trustees here.  Were they two who did not resign when all the other trustees were forced to resign?  If so, why not?  Was the governor afraid of the backlash since they were black and would not go quietly when everyone esle did?

Although many of us would like to see a black coach in one of our two major sports, there is no question that Mike Thomas did the best he could to find one.  Your point is also right on that they are sending a message about the next basketball coach....and there are many of us who are ready for a new one. 

BTW, if you look at the success rate of black coaches in the Big Ten, it has been absysmal.  Also, how well is it working out that we hired a black female as coach of our women's basketball program?

I'm personally a believer in giving minorities an extra opportunity to interview and be considered for key positions.  The second most important position in my company is held by a black female.  However, it is the responsibility of our AD to find the best candidate for the job, including any minorities who are out there.  To force the university to take someone who is less qualified simply because he/she is a minority is ludicrous. 

As an alum, it gets frustrating to see some of the actions on the part of the trustees and administration of this great university that get played out in the papers.  We seem to shoot ourselves in the foot more than most universities.

PeterE wrote on January 24, 2012 at 10:01 am

James Montgomery and Lawrence Oliver are racists and unfitting to be trustees at Illinois. Thmoas considered and offered black candidates but that isn't even the point. The POINT is that the most qualified candidates should be pursued whether they are black, white, female, male, republican, democrat, Jewish, Islamic, atheist, etc. ONLY the best candiates should be interviewed and hired regardless of race, color, religion, sex, ethnicity, etc. That is it.

eastsideexp wrote on January 23, 2012 at 11:01 pm

Why don't we ask Mike Thomas to really break the mold when he hires a coach to replace the sliding Weber and his staff - why not hire the first woman to be in charge of a male basketball team in the Big Ten?

He should hire the best person available - who cares what color or gender they are?  Someone like Pat Summitt from Tennessee.  Do you think the ESPN would be interested in broadcasting a Summitt vs. Izzo game or Summitt vs Matha contest with a championship on the line....?

Bear8287 wrote on January 24, 2012 at 1:01 pm

I wish all the best for Pat Summitt and am happy to hear about the support that she is receiving but I can't imagine someone recommending a person who has been diagnosed with her illness (early onset dementia-Alzheimer's type) to jump from a program where she has had so much support and love and has run for so many years into a completely new environment. You really think that would be best for her?


Go Pat and Go Illini!

eastsideexp wrote on January 24, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Any basketball fan knows that Coach Summitt has serious health issues and we all wish her the best  --- my point was simply that there are highly qualified women that are coaching basketball.

Why be so limited in our outlook like the two Trustees who only think that a black male is qualified?

helping wrote on January 24, 2012 at 12:01 am

I'm not sure that it would matter to these two trustees, but the three offensive and defensive coordinators are either African-American or Hispanic-American.

UIGRAD03 wrote on January 24, 2012 at 12:01 am

Kudos to our esteemed trustees on perpetuating racism and inequality in modern day America.  Martin Luther King once said, "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character." Yet here we are decades later, hosting a race skirmish so ridiculous it could only happen at the University of Illinois. Yes black football players far outnumber, percentage-wise, black coaches.But the reasons go far beyond race.  It takes time for players from 20 years ago to build themselves up through the coaching ranks.  Coaches must be college graduates which unfortunately excludes many ex student athletes of all races.  A higher percentage of Division I head football coaches are black than the percentage of people living in America that are black. One cannot make a blanket statement that because 46% of college football players are black, that 46% of coaches should be black. Coaching hires must be made on merit and not on forced racial consideration. 

Unfortunately in today's hyper-PC society we cannot choose someone for a job based solely on their merit and qualifications, we must also make false overtures to hire minorities regardless of the situation.  But we cannot truly be equal unless we treat everyone as EQUALS.  This means no favoritism to ANYONE.

Mike Thomas offered this position at a much higher salary to a black man than what he ultimately settled on for a white man.  The black candidate refused the position and we moved onto the next most qualified, willing candidate.  End of story.  Shame on these racists for insisting on hiring someone on the basis of their skin color, regardless of what it may be.  Shame on you, Loren, for your butt-covering PC notion that these clowns have any ground to stand on.  And shame on the system for not holding these people accountable for promoting racism within a public institution.  

If two white trustees were to boycott the hiring of a black coach for the sole reason of him being a black man being hired when white men were available, he would be summarily fired and blackballed from any and all state-run organizations for life.  When these guys do it, everyone is scared to death to say anything for fear of being apprehended by the PC Police.

I'm actually appalled at the behavior of our trustees and, on a wider scale, the impotent media that is loathe to discuss matters such as these and call out offenders equally.  Fact of the matter is that if it would be inappropriate for a white person to act in this manner, then it is inappropriate for a black person to act the same way.  And we will never be truly equal until we hold all people of all races accountable for their actions.  

SwifferFan wrote on January 24, 2012 at 5:01 am

Welcome to Illinois and our world today. 

The reality of sports hiring is that it's political, not professional.  Regardless of a person's qualifications, hiring goes to the one who knows someone, not to the most qualified, regardless of race, religion or creed.  At least ONE excellent, highly qualified coach was let go by Beckman without serious consideration.  Can't beat those MAC assistant coaches (or old friends), can you?

Loren, you hit the nail on the head.  The two Trustees made their statements.  Honest to goodness, I'm very tired of "politics as usual" in the State of IL and at the U of IL.  Makes a body weary, as my grandma used to say.

bleeding blue -ran out of o... wrote on January 24, 2012 at 5:01 am

kudos to the Trustees for caring about race discrimination. However, if they respect the tradition of the University of Illinois they should in fact be pushing for the hiring of a native ancestor. I would like to see an Indian chief from one of the remaining tribes in the country. The more pure the lineage line would be preferable. Also needs to have a nice headress. Talk about discrimination, I am sure that this minority has few if any coaches in the ncaa, and it is long overdue. Also would be nice to see the ncaa in the position of facing a true Indian as a head coach.

read the DI wrote on January 24, 2012 at 6:01 am

Your racism is showing, Loren. The evidence is clear that once the pro leagues began mandating minority interviews, lo and behold, minority coaches began getting jobs.

Now you want to rewrite history and act as if that happened on its own? Incredible.

It's time for you to go. Now.

sinfonian11 wrote on January 24, 2012 at 9:01 am

Tell me where Loren says it happened on its own.  All he says is that the Rooney rule requires minority candidates to be interviewed.  He also says there is merit to the trustees' mission.  I'd like to see you quote me a passage from this column that says what you spout off above.

read the DI wrote on January 24, 2012 at 11:01 am

Give me a break. It doesn't take a PhD to read between these lines. Tate is defending the status quo here, which is that the AD gets to pick "his guy" regardless of any other consideration. And as long as that went on in the pro leagues, no blacks ever made it to the top of the ranks.

And guess what? As Tate acknowledges, the same thing is happening in college football. Blacks don't get the jobs. But he sees that as evidence that what Illinois does is somehow OK. The world sees that for what it is: institutionalized racism.



sinfonian11 wrote on January 24, 2012 at 12:01 pm

No, it just takes a moron to make things up.  Thomas made a very generous offer to Kevin Sumlin, who understandably wanted to stay in Texas and coach in the SEC for more money. 

Also, from this column: "My complaint is not that Montgomery and Oliver are on an improper mission, but rather that it was inappropriate to publicly hang this around the neck of Thomas. Of course, if they're impatient, they have good reason. According to Jon Solomon of the Birmingham (Ala.) News, there was a 37-year gap between the SEC's first black football player and the first black head football coach. When national statistics show that 46 percent of the football players are black, my first response is, "Yeah, but the percentage of starters on defense are way, way beyond half, and the same is true at running back and receiver." And yet there were only 19 black head football coaches among 120 large schools."

Loren specifically acknowledges that there's a problem, but is saying it's unfair to blame Thomas, who made the offer to Sumlin to come here as his first choice.  So, what is Tate doing wrong here?

read the DI wrote on January 24, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Seriously? The trustees are making the point that Illinois' record in minority hirings isn't good enough. In fact, it barely exists -- one Japanese men's gymnastics coach 20 years ago. And Tate (and you) are defending the school's right to basically ignore an entire race.

I'm not saying Illinois is racist. I am saying, however, Tate's attempt at nuance falls way short. He is trying to defend the administration's past -- which is indefensible. All that talk about "we just want the best coach" is b.s. and you know it. If getting the best coach were the goal, then Illinois would have papered the intersates in C-notes all the way to Baton Rouge. In stead, they make one offer to one guy who isn't going anywhere and call it a day.

And no, they never offered Jimmy Collins the job after behing Henson's loyal assistant for 20 years (even though Henson lobbied for him), and they never offered McClain the job despite his unprecedented track record. Tate, of course, doesn't see this as a problem. Instead, it's "owwww, we must be weally, weally, sure not to hooorrt the pooor wittle timmy beckman's feewwwings..."




sinfonian11 wrote on January 24, 2012 at 3:01 pm

"one Japanese men's gymnastics coach 20 years ago." 

Really?  I'm not saying the university's record here is a good one, and neither is Tate, but to try to make your point, you're simply making things up.  What about Jolette Law and Tonja Buford-Bailey, who are African American coaches on this campus right now? 

And I don't see Tate defending the university's past in this column.  He's defending the university's present in Mike Thomas, and in particular, the process he went through in hiring our latest football coach.  The whole point of this column is that he feels the trustees are making this point now, not so much because they have a problem with Beckman, but because they want an African American to be the next men's basketball coach, whenever that may be.

You go out of your way in the comments of every Tate column to criticize him.  That's fine, and it's your right.  But you at least could get your facts straight and know what you're criticizing.

read the DI wrote on January 24, 2012 at 4:01 pm

So the trustees should sit back and wait for yet another missed opportunity? It makes all the sense in the world to make it an issue now, even if Tate and his kneejerk supporters don't see it.

And don't even bring up women's basketball or track...they are complete after thoughts and you know it.

sinfonian11 wrote on January 24, 2012 at 5:01 pm

Well, it only took four comments, but you're finally criticizing Tate for something he actually wrote! 

I've got mixed feelings about what the trustees did.  I think they knew their votes would have no impact on whether Beckman's contract was approved, so in the end it didn't really matter what they said or what vote they cast.  The votes were there to approve Beckman's contract no matter what they did.  I don't think Tate's contention that they should have approached Thomas in private is necessarily correct either.  This was their opportunity to get their feelings in the public record before the next coaching search.  I'm sure Thomas will get the message, though each coaching search is its own animal.  And with Thomas being new at Illinois, we're still figuring out how he does things, and whether such pressure will have any impact on his decision-making.

As for women's basketball and track, you brought up men's gymnastics, so there you go.

read the DI wrote on January 25, 2012 at 7:01 am

"Well, it only took four comments, but you're finally criticizing Tate for something he actually wrote!  "


I give Tate all the credit in the world for veiling his racism in a way that people like you can't even see how racist it is.


Illinois has a shameful track record when it comes to hiring minorities. They are good enough for the Chicago campus, but not in whitebread Champaign-Urbana.


But according to you and Tate, shame on the trustees for even bringing the subject up? God forbid one of the leading institutions for higher education in the world have a dialogue about race. Jim Crow lives.

sinfonian11 wrote on January 25, 2012 at 9:01 am

According to ME?  Did you read my comment?  I said it would have not been as effective to talk to Thomas in private.  Nuance seems to be completely lost on you.  I continue to question whether you have the reading comprehension skills beyond third grade.  I should know that trying to debate you is a waste of my time.  I'll even let you have the last word, as this will be my last comment on the subject.  Go ahead, the floor is yours.

read the DI wrote on January 26, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Oh nice, you are now resorting to name-calling in a last-ditch effort to win an argument.

You must be Loren Tate. Or his mother.

dersour wrote on January 27, 2012 at 7:01 am

whitebread champaign-urbana?  Where are you from?  Have you ever even been to Champaign-Urbana? 

Veiling Tate's racism?  I don't like Tate but how is this column racist? 

Do you agree that the vote against hiring Beckman is racist?

Green Shirt wrote on January 24, 2012 at 7:01 am

As a Purdue grad, Oliver may have a second agenda.

BigTenFan wrote on January 24, 2012 at 7:01 am

I do think this should have been brought to our AD's attention inhouse instead of the way it was done.  So, if Bruce Weber spirals to the abyss and has to be relieved, will Wayne Mclain or Jerrance Howard get the job because they are black or because they are the right person for the job?  Their potential new job will have everyone second guessing the decision because the trustees would not let their views be known discreetly and professionally.

bluehavana wrote on January 24, 2012 at 8:01 am

At first glance, I'll take Loren's reporting, which I do trust as accurate.  Mike Thomas wanted Kevin Sumlin, offered the job to Kevin Sumlin, and was professionally turned down.  How could it be argued the process wasn't completed in a thoughtful way.

Let's be perfectly honest though.  Loren has cited the differences in the culture, political beliefs, and other major differences in C-U vs Chicago.  Whether any of this should hinder the recruitment of athletes, the perception is it does.  So that is the reality.  With the exception of Bill Self's master recruiting, the only true recruiting success we've seen in Chicagoland were with Jimmy Collins and now Jerrance Howard on the Illini staff.  Whether proper or not, it would be a mistake to dismiss the idea of hiring a qualified black head coach for this reason alone.

Although Oliver Purnell doesn't have DePaul at the top of the heap, so it certainly isn't an exact science either.

darenberg wrote on January 24, 2012 at 7:01 pm

This incredibly poor judgement by the two of the "trustees" puts the University and any potential coaches hire from here on in a bad position.  The job of a trustee is to safeguard and steward the best interests of the University.  These two clowns have forfeited their authority in any matters pertaining to the University's best interests by choosing this method of airing their (almost) legitimate "concern".  If they didn't like the fact that we could not afford Kevin Sumlin, maybe they could have ponied up the difference themselves...if not they should have kept their mouths publically shut.  

I wish Tim Beckman the very best, but he should not have to operate under the cloud created by our trustees' lack of judgement.  As far as teh "next" basketball coach, lets wait and see what happens the rest of this season before saddling Bruce with the same burden Beckman has to deal with.  

rocko wrote on January 24, 2012 at 9:01 am

I wonder what the reaction would be if we had hired a black coach and 2 white Trustees voted against him because he wasn't white.

shipjumper99 wrote on January 24, 2012 at 9:01 am

"It is a fact that Illinois, Purdue and Nebraska are the only Big Ten universities who have never had a black head coach in football or basketball"




What am I missing?

sinfonian11 wrote on January 24, 2012 at 9:01 am

Loren obviously meant "men's" basketball, and should have written that in the column.

Iammrillini wrote on January 24, 2012 at 10:01 am

Kudos to UIGRAD03 for your insightful observations of this mess. Every point you made, especially about what the fallout would be if caucasian trustees voted "no" on a minority hiring. Basically the PC police would be all over that along with a media that is so gutless in these situations.

Racism is racism no matter where it eminates. I totally agree we should call people out, like these self-righteous trustees, who have obviously lost their perspective. If it's time for Bruce to go, then the search should be for the very best coach available who wants to live and work in Champaign-Urbana. If that's Frank Haith, Oliver Purnell or Tubby Smith, great. But if it's someone of the caliber of Roy Williams, Tom Izzo, or Bo Ryan, we better choose the very best candidate available.  Mike Thomas can't win even for doing the right thing.  Thanks again UIGRAD03 for bringing your honest, accurate, and open perspective to this embarrassing situation.

illinifan20 wrote on January 24, 2012 at 10:01 am

The 2 trustees have a right to vote the way they did, but they need to realize that Thomas did interview some African American coaches, but they decided on other opportunities elsewhere.  The former Univ. of Houston coach did a good job, but he only had 2 winning seasons out of his 10 year of coaching.  Also, at one time AD Guenther interviewed an African American who was a good coach, but his record was out of 15 yrs of coaching, he only had 3 winning seasons.  The rest were sub-par .500 seasons.  Why do we want coaches no matter what race they are who are good people, but cannot coach...We want someone who can coach, who can recruit quality student athletes who want to go to school to get an education and play sports. It doesnt matter what  coaches up in Chicago want...It is what the University wants...A quality coach...A winning coach...Not just someone to appease a few people.  With respect to Wayne McClain and Jarrence Howard, they are not ready to be a head coach at a D-1 major conference school yet.  In time yes..But not now.  Mr. Oliver and Mr. Montgomery, put your overtones to rest and let the University hire the best quality candidate for any of their coaching postions.  Keep race out it.....

read the DI wrote on January 24, 2012 at 11:01 am

"With respect to Wayne McClain and Jarrence Howard, they are not ready to be a head coach at a D-1 major conference school yet."

Say whaaaaaaat? McClain won 3 straight HS state titles.  He is a three time Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Coach of the Year and also won the USA Today National HS Basketball Coach of the Year. He's been a top assistant at Illinois for 11 years.

Do you really think there is something in recruiting or coaching he has not yet seen?


dersour wrote on January 27, 2012 at 7:01 am

Have you ever met Wayne McClain?  Nice guy - but not ready to be a head coach.  There's a reason why he's been an assistant coach for the last 7 years and it has nothing to do with race.  McClain had the most talent by far when he was coaching at Manual.  It was like Kentucky playing Vandy every game... not even fair. 

DaisyJ wrote on January 24, 2012 at 10:01 am

Lets understand a couple of variables. First, to have a black coach you need to have one apply. Second, most of us think we have a black president. We actually have a half white and half black president. If I had a white mom and a black dad, they would say I am half of each. We really have not elected a full black president. Now, isn't this talk of skin color silly. Just as I have mentioned, it is silly but if minorities want to go there, then this is what it ends up being, silly. Today, minorities have more opportunities than at any time ever. If people think that in Football, a great black coach wanted to come here and the U of I would not consider him because he is black, then the minorities are again very wrong. Same with Basketball. I would take Tubby right now if I could get him. For the trustees that voted like they did, they are adding to the problem.

read the DI wrote on January 25, 2012 at 7:01 am

No one applies for a major Div 1 men's basketball head coaching position.

Moonpie wrote on January 24, 2012 at 10:01 am

Moses Saint Tate at his worst and ugliest: telling folks again how to think -- ad nauseum. And apparently able to read the minds of trustees. Well, at least he didn't refer to minorities as uppity. I won't try and read his mind to gauge whether that's how he really sees them. Like many conservatives, Moses erroneously wants folks to think that racism is somehow a thing of the past. That way they don't feel they have to address it or acknowledge it -- and certainly not defend themselves for it. Yep--it's political alright.

dersour wrote on January 27, 2012 at 7:01 am

You're right, racism isn't a thing of the past.  The two board of trustee proved that when they voted against a coaching hire purely because they did not like the color of his skin. 

PeterE wrote on January 24, 2012 at 10:01 am

I don't care if Thomas hires a black coach to replace Bruce Weber at the end of the season. AS long as whomever Thomas hires is the best coach available. It is much more important to have a great coach than concentrate on color of skin. No make that it is a sin, discrimination and an outrage to concentrate on color of skin. The comments by the trustees is racist, discriminatory and unbecoming any human much less trustees of a major university like Illinois.

Shame on You two racists,  James Montgomery and Lawrence Oliver.

Moonpie wrote on January 24, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Well, PeterE, like all good neocons, you believe racism is in the past, I'm sure. You condemn people for pointing out what even the King of Codnescension, Moses Tate, admits -- a lack of minorty head coaches. It's very much like with the Chief -- because Native Americans are such a small minority and most Illini fans are white, minorities must shut their mouths and go along. You should sponsor a drive to offically designate Illinpouis a White University. And folks who disagree -- shout them down, of course. The GOP way.

Salt Life wrote on January 24, 2012 at 11:01 am
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Personally I would appreciate it if Bruce would resign or be fired ASAP and let either Jerrance Howard be the interim coach with Wayne McClain as Associate Head Coach, Deon Thomas as Assistant Coach and Dee Brown as Assistant Coach. That would be 4 black coaches on the basketball staff. Not only should that placate the black Trustees but they would perform better than Bruce Weber, develop players better, give us much more exciting brand of basketball, command and relate to players better and able to go out and recruit with the best of them.   

OKOMIS wrote on January 24, 2012 at 11:01 am

why not Chester Frazier??  You got something against people from Maryland?  All kidding aside I’d like him to be on our new staff  

Salt Life wrote on January 24, 2012 at 2:01 pm
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LOL - nothing against Frazier or MD. Chester Frazier would probably make a fine coach. Thought Chester went back to Europe to play basketball professionally. Thought Dee might jump at the chance to be on Illini staff and recruit Chicago along with Jerrance. That could turn out to be a great staff with Jerrance Howard, Wayne McClain, Deon Thomas, Dee Brown and/or Chester Frazier. Two thumbs Up!

If available, Thomas also needs to seriously talk to Shaka Smart and Brad Stevens.

OKOMIS wrote on January 24, 2012 at 4:01 pm


As long as we’re preaching diversity here, also add Damir Krupalija to recruit our Croat, Serb and Bosnian brothers. Every B1G team needs a 6’10” eastern European that can bury a 3 pointer….  Plus he played with new head coach Howard. Plus I’d let pop's go and bring in Sergio… we’d keep the Peoria pipeline plus any player mouth off, Sergio can kick some ass.

jimbo2009 wrote on January 24, 2012 at 11:01 am

Aren't these trustees now "appointed" by the governor vs. elected by the public?  Aren't they also from Chicago?  Let's see politicans from Chicago!!!  That tells you everything you need to know.  State of Illinois political corruption has now reached the board room of the University of Illinois.  Time for the alumni and friends of the University to speak out and demand some resignations immediately.  But then that won't happen because we'd all be called racist, when in fact we have two racist on the Board now.

jimmyzlc wrote on January 24, 2012 at 1:01 pm
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I was always under the impression you hire the person most qualified for the job regaedless of skin color. If you offer the best qualified on your list and he turns you down and you go to plan B why is that a bad hire.Is Thomas only supposed to interview black coaches, if that's the case it screams discrimination of another type.

These two trustees need to resign and retract their statments on the matter. It's trustees with these views that keep racism burning bright in America.

hopefulmike wrote on January 24, 2012 at 2:01 pm

These two trustees, I'm sure, are also reliable votes against Chief Illiniwek. More political correctness run amok. Thomas offered the job to a black coach at a competitive salary and was turned down. Does that mean that black coaches are prejudiced against the University of Illinois? The whole issue is baloney.

By the way, someone posted that 46% of all football players are black. Does that mean that white football players are being discriminated against? It makes as much sense to demand that white players comprise 85% of the team. The talents required for players and coaches are dramatically different, and it is not surprising that the percentages are also different.

kzimmer001 wrote on January 24, 2012 at 2:01 pm

So, do I understand this correctly, the two trustees disapproved of Beckman's hiring solely based on his race? Every day that passes, it seems something happens to make me ashamed of the school I once loved

RPeterE wrote on January 24, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Way I understand it, one or both of the trustees aren't Illinois grads (one said to be a  Purdue grad) and were appointed by Illinois governor so their ignorance and racism is no reflection on the University of Illinois itself. It is the governor's problem and fault for appointing them and he should remove them promptly! Racism and racist agendas should not be allowed to persist in any form relative to University of Illinois adminstration.

Moonpie wrote on January 25, 2012 at 2:01 pm

RPeterE--they should be fired because they cast votes as they wished, which is their right as trustees? Wow! You're tea party for sure. Maybe you should propose that only white males can ever be trustees. Or governor. Or coaches. Or anything.

dersour wrote on January 27, 2012 at 7:01 am

why are you bringing politics in this?  Racism is Racism.  If a white trustee voted against a black coach because of the color their skin you wouldn't stand up his right as a trustee. 

Dan Bloeme wrote on January 24, 2012 at 3:01 pm

When Weber gets fired, let's party like it's 2000 all over again. There will be more happier fans and less stubborn supporters left after Weber's firing than when Zook got the hook. Long suffering basketball fans are tired of hearing excuses and wait until next year, year after year. If Illini finish in middle of the B1G pack again, Bruce will have outstayed his welcome here.

Thomas will be fine at Illinois if he keeps firing coaches that need firing like Zook, Weber and Law. Then replaces them with the best reasonably available coaches. If Thomas happens to consider qualified black coaches because they are among the best available that would get the (reverse) racists off his back and also help provide Illinois with a more modern progressive appearance. If Thomas entertained black candidates, or hispanic or other minority races but still not hire a minority because they were not the BEST candidate, that still wouldn't make Illinois racist or less equal opportunity. Illinois doesn't need to hire inferior candidates just to kowto to and satisfy two racist black men's agenda who most embarrassing, are UI trustees. The Governor should swiftly remove these trustees.

crackerman wrote on January 24, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Let Montgomery and Oliver have their 15 minutes! How about next time we hire a new coach ( black or white) if they don't turn the program around in 4-5 yrs they get the axe!

DaisyJ wrote on January 24, 2012 at 6:01 pm

Sorry, but hey,,,we need to do gene tests on every coach current and new. WE need to know if any of them have a part of them that is of another race and have all their blood line race genes out there to be viewed so the trustee's know what percentate each of the coaches are. REally,,it is the only way to be fair to all minorities. My guess is that someday it will be a part of the hiring process so that we can be measured by not just the color of our skin, but our real make up so of course no one that we would not want slips through on us and like the trustee's said,, are not a good fit to be qualified as a coach at this fine university...Can yoiu imagine the embarressment that we find out someone has a little black or white or hispanic gene in them or an arab or german, or italian, or columbian,,or even an Illini indian gene since our trustee's are so worried about the true color of person.

Jam wrote on January 24, 2012 at 8:01 pm

It seems that the main problem is with the preparation of black coaches to be head coaches.  You do not just jump in and say here I am let me coach.  We have heard in this latest hire that the new coach is one of a long line of coaches that came from the MAC conference.  Now has there been any black coaches in the MAC conference getting experience that became head coaches recently?  Did not the AD hire a black head coach at his former school?  So he is aware of the landscape.  The trustees have shown their ignorance in ignoring the process that AD Thomas has just gone through.  If there were a qualified black (minority) coach (with appropriate experience to operate a budget, recruit, hire and fire, and mangage the x's and o's) I believe AD Thomas would have hired him.  The other side of the coin is that the coach would want to come to the UI.

yates wrote on January 25, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Seems kinda of crazy seeing as 80% of football and basketball players are minority students. You would assume that is because we get players based on their abilities. Same should apply to coaches. Hire them based on their abilities and not just to make a politically correct point.

Moonpie wrote on January 25, 2012 at 2:01 pm

yates--asking for more minority coaches is politically correct? Wow! You're voting for Newt or Mitt, right? Don't think, just fall into lockstep.

DaisyJ wrote on January 25, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Very well put,,,great contrast

hopefulmike wrote on January 25, 2012 at 1:01 pm

I think DaisyJ is on the right track. Every prospective coach should be gene tested to determine the percentage of genes from each of the 10 largest ethnic groups in the country. The one that comes closest to the national average should automatically get the job. That way, we could have a coach that is (I am estimating these numbers, but the true values can be determined) 50% white, 15% hispanic, 12% black, 10% asian, 2% homosexual, 2% indian, etc.

The things that we thought were ridiculous and impossible 20 years ago are regular occurrences today. They are still ridiculous, but no longer impossible.

DaisyJ wrote on January 25, 2012 at 7:01 pm

Also well put,,if they want to go there we can go THERE

bernies wrote on January 25, 2012 at 7:01 pm

"Homosexual" is an ethnic group that can be determined through DNA testing??

billdosage wrote on January 25, 2012 at 9:01 pm

Unfortunately it is this mentality and behavior that cost us Chief.  The trustees are the problem and unfortunately Illinois alumni have not been able to rise up and prevent these people from making a mockery of our university.  It's shameful.  

Illini Murf wrote on January 27, 2012 at 10:01 pm

It is good to see that there are so many people concerned about how well the programs perform and that it is important that we hire the most qualified coaches.   ARE YOU KIDDING, HOW IN THE WORLD IS THIS EVEN AN ISSUE.  You hire the best people for the job, period!!!