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The purpose of this study was to examine factors that contribute to the under representation of African Americans in head coaching positions. In Study 1, qualitative data were collected from assistant football (n = 41) and men’s basketball (n = 16) coaches to examine why coaches sought head coaching positions, barriers to obtaining such positions, and reasons for leaving the coaching profession. In Study 2, assistant football (n = 259) and men’s basketball coaches (n = 114) completed a questionnaire developed from Study 1. Results indicate that although there were no differences in desire to become a head coach, African Americans, relative to Whites, perceived race and opportunity as limiting their ability to obtain a head coaching position and had greater occupational turnover intentions. Context moderated the latter results, as the effects were stronger for African American football coaches than they were for African American basketball coaches. Results have practical implications for the advancement of African American football coaches into head coaching roles.
Cunningham and Straub are with the Laboratory for Diversity in Sport, Dept. of Health and Kinesiology, Texas A&M Univ., and Bruening is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, Univ. of Connecticut.