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BCA: Virginia-Eastern Michigan game marks diversity milestone

Saturday's contest between Virginia and Eastern Michigan will mark the first Division 1-A game in which both teams were led by African American head coaches and athletic directors, according to the Black Coaches & Administrators.

Virginia Coach Mike London is in his first season at the helm in Charlottesville after being hired by Athletic Director Craig Littlepage last December. Coach Ron English is in his second season at Eastern Michigan, where Derrick Gragg serves as the athletic director.

Fifteen of the 120 Division 1-A football coaches are "of color," the BCA wrote in a statement released Thursday.

"This game between Eastern Michigan and the University of Virginia affirms the progress seen in hiring for the highest levels of intercollegiate sport," Littlepage said in the BCA's statement. "UVA sends congratulations to EMU’s leaders, Dr. Derrick Gragg and Ron English, on the occasion of Eastern Michigan’s 1,000th football game."

"College athletics has been a major part of my life for the past 20+ years and I am honored to be able to play a role in this historic event," Gragg said in the statement. "I have great respect for Craig Littlepage and his contributions to intercollegiate athletics as a coach and athletic administrator. I am certainly looking forward to Saturday's game."

"It is significant that we are experiencing such tangible events as this in intercollegiate athletics today," BCA Executive Director Floyd Keith said in the statement. "This event follows a breakthrough year in the hiring of football coaches on the (Division 1-A) level. As we move forward into the 2011, I am encouraged that this trend will continue and such meetings will become more common place on our fall Saturday afternoons.”

Virginia's home game Oct. 30 against Miami will mark the third time this season that two African-American head coaches have opposed each other at Scott Stadium. London and the Cavaliers squared off against 1-AA Richmond and first-year Coach Latrell Scott in the Sept. 4 season opener. Miami is led by Randy Shannon, who is in his fourth season in charge of the Hurricanes.

By Steve Yanda  | October 22, 2010; 9:12 AM ET
Categories:  Football  
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