Lovie Smith and Diversity

Shannon Ryan has an in-depth look at the University of Illinois Football program and points out that head coach Lovie Smith’s staff has eight black coaches which is the most of any FBS program. 

The article is really great and highlights the progress Coach Smith and Athletic Director Josh Whitman have had on the program. It is well worth your time to read. 

While I don’t want to take away from the importance and significance of the Ryan’s piece, the headline writer for the Chicago Tribune created a convoluted mess that I would like to see changed. Here’s the headline:

Lovie Smith’s Illinois staff has 8 black coaches — more than any FBS program. Can it be an example that helps close the racial disparity in college football?

That isn’t a headline. It’s kind of a headline and subhead combo. It’s wordy. I think it’s trying to tell and sell the story at the same time. It was an immediate turnoff for me. If I were writing the headline it would be this:

Leading By Example: Illinois Football First in Diversity

That sells the story in a more compact and impactful way. You don’t even need a subhead and especially one that asks a question. 

Again, I don’t want to take away from the story, but Tribune headline writers need to be better.