Colorado Legend Bill McCartney Offers…Interesting Comment About School’s Football Coach Search

  • Glenn Davis

A report came out earlier today that the University of Colorado offered its football head coaching position to Redskins tight ends coach Jon Embree, a Colorado alum and former assistant at the school, and that Embree took the job. Colorado, however, denied the report.

And while hiring Embree wouldn’t create the splash that, say, someone like Mike Leach might (not that he was ever a realistic option), one tidbit from the Denver Post’s initial report certainly created a splash with me.

Bill McCartney, who coached Colorado’s football program to the greatest success in its history during the ’80s and ’90s, was a candidate this time around, but if the Post’s report is indeed correct (and he says you can “take it to the bank and hang your hat on it” that Embree will be hired), didn’t land the position. However, to hear him say it…well, he says it better than we can:

McCartney was a candidate to replace Dan Hawkins, who was fired last month, but said his plan all along, had he been named coach, was to hire Embree and [Vikings running backs coach Eric] Bieniemy as assistants and groom one of them to take over as the head coach in two or three years. When it became clear he would not get the head coaching position, McCartney said he pushed for one of them to get the job, and hire the other coach as a top assistant.

“It was never about me doing it again,” McCartney said. “It was about setting the table for a black man to come in (as head coach). And he (athletic director Mike Bohn) hired one. Now, give him a chance.”

(Emphasis ours.) OK, there’s a LOT going on here. One: well, no wonder McCartney didn’t get the job – he only committed to 2-3 years! That’s nothing! That’s not even enough time for one class to come in and graduate! I get that McCartney’s 70, and he was promising to keep the job in-house, but 2-3 years is just not enough time to get a program on completely solid footing.

And then – especially – the line about “setting the table for a black man” to take over. I have never seen a hire be discussed as being entirely about race before. It just seems like a weird thing to state so publicly – and if he was confident enough in Embree to recommend him for the job now, and it was “never about [McCartney] doing it again”…why even try to get the job himself?

Embree may do well – he’s more or less an unknown. But for someone like McCartney to come out and say he’s advocating someone due to race – even if he means it in a good way, and thinks the person is a good candidate – left me with an extremely strange taste in my mouth.

[H/T Spencer Hall]

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