Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Kinesiology, Sport Studies and Physical Education

First Advisor

Dr. Merrill J. Melnick


The study attempted to determine empirically if Black assistant coaches in the National Football League (NFL) possessed the “necessary” credentials to be a head coach in the NFL. The problem was investigated by developing profiles of head White and assistant Black coaches and then comparing the credentials of the assistant Black coaches to those of the head White coaches. If the Black assistants did not possess the same credentials as the head White coaches, then the absence of head Black coaches in the NFL could be justified by that fact. However, if the Black assistants’ credentials were equal to or better than those of the head coaches then the all-too-familiar explanation, "Blacks lack the necessities,” could no longer justify the lack of head Black coaches in the NFL. All 28 head and 45 Black assistant coaches in the NFL during the 1988-89 season were subjects in the study. Data about each coach were collected, and modal coach profiles were constructed. When the profiles were compared, it was found that NFL Black assistant coaches generally possessed the same achieved occupational credentials as White NFL head coaches and therefore, there is reason to believe that race may have been a factor ln the hiring of head coaches in the NFL.


Repository staff redacted information not essential to the integrity of this thesis to protect personal privacy.