Nebraska Football: Mickey Joseph claims black coaches are ‘somewhat spooked’ about coming to Lincoln

Nebraska Cornhuskers interim head coach Mickey Joseph looks to the sideline (Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports)
Nebraska Cornhuskers interim head coach Mickey Joseph looks to the sideline (Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports) /

Nebraska football interim head coach Mickey Joseph told some hard truths about the state of Nebraska recently. In an article by SI’s Ross Dellenger focusing on the former wide receiver coach’s hunt for a permanent job as the man leading the Huskers, Joseph talked about a range of topics.

Right at the top of the list of topics was the fact that Joseph is the first head coach of any sport at the university. He’s the first black head coach despite the fact that the school has more than 23 sports and has had a football team for over 120 years.

That’s always a rather interesting tidbit. It’s even more interesting when taking what Joseph had to say about one of the contributing factors as to why he’s the first. According to him … and to Tom Osborne, he wasn’t the first black man the university has tried to make its head coach. However when offers have gone out, they’ve been turned down. And not because the job wasn’t good enough.

Joseph told Dellenger that “Black coaches have been somewhat spooked” by Nebraska. The article alleges that while Osborne was trying to bring Nebraska football and Nebraska athletics in general back from the brink, there were at least two Black coaches who were contacted that declined to be interviewed.

The Huskers’ head coach understands that feeling to some degree. He said that when he first came to Lincoln to play quarterback from Louisiana, he nearly left right away.

"“It’s different. I came here and it was me and my roommate. We got here and were like, ‘Whoa!’ I sat at the end of the bed and was like, ‘I’m out of here.’”"

Joseph stayed of course. He then went off and forged his own career away from the Cornhuskers until the school came calling last winter. At the time, he thought he was just going to be the wide receivers’ coach. He probably didn’t know that he was going to make history.

And yet, the Osborne disciple has indeed made history in Lincoln. He’d like to make some more. While some have claimed he didn’t and doesn’t want the job he has now, that rumor was dispelled by his wife in the last few weeks.

Despite wanting the job and despite doing his best to show that he deserves it, there are likely going to be some Nebraska football fans who don’t like the characterization of the state as “different” or a place the interim head coach once wanted to leave quite quickly.

But before they voice anger over the comments on social media and the radio and television, it’s worth a minute to stop and think about the comments and why some Black coaches might be “spooked” and try to understand that sentiment. And be better.