Less than 4 percent of Division I-A football coaches are African American. Yale defensive line coach Duane Brooks has been selected to attend a program aimed to change such statistical disparities in Division I athletics.
Brook, who is in his seventh year of commanding the football team’s defensive line, is one of 20 ethnic minority football coaches chosen to participate in the first NCAA Advanced Coaching Program, a component of the newly formed NCAA Coaches’ Academy.
“Intercollegiate athletics must make significant improvement in hiring minority head coaches, and the Advanced Coaching Program is an important tool in that effort,” NCAA President Myles Brand said in a statement on IvyLeagueSports.com.
Head coach Jack Siedlecki said he was excited both for Brooks and for what the honor said about Eli football.
“Being selected for the program is a personal honor for Duane [Brooks] and nice recognition for Yale and our football program,” Siedlecki said. “We work very hard at professional development for our staff: visiting other college staffs, visiting NFL staffs, attending clinics and the AFCA [American Football Coaches Association] convention and staying up to date with publications.”
One of Brooks’ current players, Bryant Dieffenbacher ’04, said he thought Brooks would make a great head coach.
“Coach Brooks has a system in which he makes kids coming from high school who are just okay or even not very good players into great college football players,” Dieffenbacher said. “Off the field [Brooks] is a great mentor who can give you advice in all aspects of your life, and once you step onto the field, [he] does everything he can to make you a better player.”
During Brooks’ tenure at Yale, he has produced eight all-Ivy selections on the interior defensive line. The last two Yale captains before Alvin Cowan ’04 were both defensive linemen.
Siedlecki noted that the development of Yale assistant coaches into head coaching candidates is certainly not unprecedented.
“Coach [Shawn] Halloran left our staff this past year and is in his first year as a head coach,” Siedlecki said. “It is gratifying to see our assistants given opportunities as it reflects well on their development in our program. If [Brook]’s aspirations are to be a head coach, this opportunity will enhance his chances.”
With more coaches like Brooks being prepared for a shot at the head position, minority representation should increase in college football head coaching ranks.
“I think programs like this are very beneficial to college football as a whole,” Dieffenbacher said. “There are so many great minority players in the game now; many of them would also make great coaches. There is no reason that minority coaches shouldn’t have more head coaching jobs.”