In the Shadows No More: Making a Case for Black College Assistant Football Coaches as Strategic Hybrid Resistors In and Through Sport

Jonathan E. Howe – Temple University

Within the discussion of sport activism, athletes often garner the most attention. However, other athletic stakeholders also engage in broader forms of resistance – one group being Black college assistant football coaches. I utilize a hermeneutical phenomenology methodological approach to examine the relationship between the experiences of Black college assistant football coaches and resistance in and through sport. Eight coaches engaged in semi-structured interviews, and their experiences were interpreted through the combined frameworks of critical race theory and African American resistance typology by Cooper (2021). My interpretation uncovered that Black college assistant football coaches are strategic hybrid resistors engaging in varied aspects of resistance, including activism. Ultimately, participants engaged in resistance to ensure their continued success, counter hegemonic norms, and increase opportunities for other Black coaches (or potential coaches). I conclude with a discussion of implications for policy and practice and future research opportunities related to the Black coaching experience and resistance.