It goes without saying that Southeast Missouri State athletic director Don Kaverman was elated with the recent report from the Black Coaches Association.
Southeast received glowing marks on the BCA's report card regarding the area of NCAA Division I universities considering minority football coaching candidates.
The third annual report card, released Friday, showed that a record 12 of the 26 Division I-A and I-AA schools that hired head coaches prior to the 2006 season received overall grades of A, including Southeast.
But only Southeast and Division I-A Buffalo earned perfect scores -- A's in each of the five categories the BCA considers.
"We are very excited about the report," Kaverman said. "We worked hard on that search, and obviously it wasn't just to comply with the expectations of the Black Coaches Association, but I think everybody is concerned about minority hiring.
"We didn't go into the process looking to hire a minority coach necessarily, but we did want to be cognizant of what their [the BCA's] expectations were in the process."
As it turned out, Southeast was one of four Division I-A and I-AA schools to hire a minority head coach by tabbing Tony Samuel to take over the program.
"We feel it's a win-win situation for us," Kaverman said. "Getting this report is great, and we hired the coach we felt was best for the program."
The BCA grades schools in five categories: contact with the BCA during the hiring process; efforts to interview minority candidates; diversity of the hiring process; the time frame of the actual search; and adherence to institutional affirmative action hiring policies
Two members of Southeast's six-member search committee were black: former Southeast football player O.J. Turner and Southeast faculty member Craig Downing, who is no longer with the university.
"I think we want as broad-based a diversity of opinions as we can put together and this is the same type of approach we use when we fill any position at the university," Kaverman said.
Kaverman said the BCA considers the time frame of the search important.
"A lot of times these searches, especially for high profile positions like football and basketball, are simply open and shut," Kaverman said. "Athletic directors have two or three candidates in their pocket should an opening arise, and they don't look anywhere else.
"The BCA really looks for, 'was this really a legitimate search?'"
Added Kaverman: "I'm glad that some outside agencies recognize the efforts we went to in the search process that we were being inclusive, that we were being sensitive to the issue of minority hiring. It is gratifying to know that folks outside the university feel we did a very good job."
The Associated Press reported that 11 of the 26 schools in the study received average, below average or failing grades.
Of the 119 Division I-A schools and nearly 100 non-historically black institutions in I-AA, there are only 11 minority head coaches -- five in I-A and six in I-AA, according to the AP. All are black.