UNDER THE BANNER
What's Going On In and Around Black College Sports
According to the Atlanta Journal
Constitution, fifth-year Clark Atlanta head
football coach Ted Bahhur, fired last Tuesday in the midst of a
3-3 start, filed a racial-discrimination complaint Friday with the
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission charging that
CAU President Carlton Brown and Athletics Director
Tamica Jones fired him because of the color
of his skin.
According to the AJC story, Bahhur's attorney, Ed Gadrix,
said they plan to file a federal lawsuit when the EEOC investigation
Gadrix said Bahhur's petition before the EEOC documents "a wide series of events
that have taken place that have tried to force him out on
racial grounds." Bahhur is Palestinian. Brown and Jones are black.
Efforts by the BCSP to reach Bahhur, Brown and
Jones were unsuccessful.
Clark Atlanta initially announced the firing in a
short-worded Media Advisory last Tuesday evening saying
Bahhur was relieved of his duties immediately and was
being replaced by assistant Keith Higdon on an interim
basis. Later Tuesday night the CAU Office of Marketing
and Communications released an official statement of the
firing with a summary of interim coach Higdon's
accomplishments along with quotes from Higdon and Brown on
Higdon's new assignment.
The official statement did not outline the reason for
the firing and included a statement by Jones of thanks to Bahhur.
On Thursday, Jones told the AJC in reference to
the firing that "expectations for the team are not W's and L's
as they are that we have a responsibility to commit to our
young men, as well. That's where we were most lacking."
Bahhur alleges in the AJC story that he was
asked questions in meetings and embarrassed by Brown and
Jones in ways that black coaches were not. Bahhur reportedly
also took exception to Jones' questions about his commitment
to the players. He said graduation rates improved during
his tenure, estimating that 15 of the roughly 25 seniors
graduated last spring, two more have since completed
requirements and an additional two are on track to complete
degree work this spring.
Bahhur said he has also raised money for
renovated facilities, including the locker room, weight room
and coaches office.
CAU had made steady progress towards becoming
a contender in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic
Conference during Bahhur's tenure. The Panthers, who
finished 6-5 overall last season, their first winning season
since 1991, were picked to finish fourth in this year's
preseason poll by SIAC coaches. Bahhur's team began this season
with three straight wins before losing three straight games.
The firing came three days after a 31-13 homecoming loss
to Kentucky State.
Bahhur compiled a 20-29 overall record during his
time leading the CAU grid program. Prior to his hiring in
2005, CAU had lost 39 of its last 43 games.
According to the offical statement, Higdon has
served for five years as an assistant to Bahhur in a variety of
roles including assistant head coach, defensive backs coach
recruiting coordinator and pro liaison. He has a
15-year coaching career including a stint at Tuskegee
from 1998 to 2004.
© 2009 Azeez Communications, Inc.