While the athletic coaching staff at Oswego State is filled with some of the most influential and successful coaches in all of the SUNYAC, there is one thing clearly missing: diversity among coaches and staff.
There are no African-American coaches, and Malcolm Huggins, the assistant athletic director for marketing and game management, is the only African-American in the athletics administration.
There are African-American student athletes on Oswego State’s basketball, golf, swimming and diving, soccer and wrestling teams, yet no African-American coaches.
It’s usually common for coaching staffs to somewhat reflect their team rosters, but this is currently not the case at Oswego State.
“When we’re having our interview process we’re definitely looking for a diverse group of people, whether it’s women or ethnic minorities, those individuals are in the pool with everyone else,” Huggins said.
Huggins added that when Oswego State athletics releases job postings, not only do they post to the NCAA, but also on National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), which is a national group that the school’s athletic administrators belong to.
Within the NACDA is a group called MOAA, or the Minority Opportunities Athletic Association, which Oswego State pushes their posts to in order to advertise their available positions to ethnic minorities.
Job postings are also sent through NACWAA, the National Association of Collegiate Woman Athletics Administrators, to advertise potential openings to the female demographic.
“We make sure we push our postings to where those underrepresented populations will be able to see and hopefully they’ll apply for the position,” Huggins said. “It’s no different than the common practice used on our campus for any other position.”
A likely reason for this lack of diversity could be the fact that the town of Oswego simply is not an ethnically diverse area.
In Oswego County, over 96 percent of the population is white, while only 2.2 percent are Hispanic and 1 percent are African-American, according to the US Census website.
Additionally, neighboring Syracuse’s population is 29.5 percent African-American, 8.3 percent Hispanic and 5.5 percent Asian.
“From my perspective as an African American male, [Oswego] is a great area for me to work in my industry, and the college itself is very diverse,” Huggins said.
Diversity also lacks in college sports at a national level. A 2010 study by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport found that white people held 88.8, 92.7 and 96.2 percent of Division I, II and III athletic director positions.
The survey also found that white people held 89.3, 89.2 and 92.3 percent of head coaching jobs at the DI, DII and DIII levels, respectively.
A lack of diversity among athletic administration and coaches is seen across the SUNYAC conference. Although there is a fair mix between male and female athletic directors in the SUNYAC, they are primarily white.
Stuart Robinson, who has been the Director of Athletics at SUNY New Paltz since 2001, is the only African-American AD in the SUNYAC.
However, diversity throughout the SUNYAC Conference among coaches can be found. At Plattsburgh State, the men’s basketball coach Tom Curle is the only coach of Korean descent in all of the NCAA.
There are also African-American basketball, football, and cross country coaches at Fredonia, SUNY Cortland and Buffalo State, respectively.
In the coming years, Laker coaches will likely be moving on to different jobs and different schools, so it is possible we will begin to see more ethnically diverse coaches hired at Oswego State.