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Symposium on 'Diversity Dialogue: Issues in Athletics' to Include Dr. Ted Leland

Aug. 11, 2003

In conjunction with the grand opening of the Dr. Martin Luther King (King) Library and the events connected with "Literacy Week," San Jose State University and the Literacy Classic organization will host a symposium, "Diversity Dialogue: Issues in Athletics." The panel discussion will be held on Friday, August 22, at 9:30 a.m. (PDT) in the King Library on the San Jose State University campus.

Panelists for this discussion include:

Dr. Richard Lapchick, founder of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society now based at the University of Central Florida (Orlando, Fla.)

Dr. Ted Leland, director of athletics at Stanford University (Stanford, Calif.)

Mark Purdy, nationally-known newspaper columnist of the San Jose Mercury News

Ralph Wiley, senior writer for and author of several books on race relations in sports

Doug Williams, head football coach at Grambling State University

Dr. Fitz Hill, head football coach at San Jose State University whose doctoral dissertation focused on employment opportunities for African American football coaches at the NCAA Division I-A level.


Dr. Charles Whitcomb, the first chair of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's (NCAA) Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee, who will serve as moderator.

"We expect our conversation and discussion to stimulate and generate innovative ideas regarding diversity issues," says Whitcomb, who serves as the executive assistant to the Provost at San Jose State University.

Topics the panel will discuss include:

1.) Hiring practices of coaches in college football

2.,) The student-athlete experience

3.) Graduation rates

"We are delighted to have a distinguished panel in San Jose to discuss these issues in the brand new Dr. Martin Luther King Library. The King Library will become one of the premier learning centers for the general public and college students in the western United States and our football program wants to contribute to its excellence and growing educational reputation," says Hill. "The topics our panelists will discuss are in the forefront of college athletics today and should generate further discussion and research. The dialogue should be spirited and may be controversial, but we are counting on a healthy exchange of ideas and facts."

There is no admission fee to attend the symposium. Seating is limited to the first 300 participants on a first-come, first-served basis. Parking is available across the street from the King Library in the five-story garage located at the corner of Fourth and San Fernando streets.


DR. RICHARD LAPCHICK is regarded as "the racial conscience of sport." He also is described as a human rights activist, pioneer for racial equality, scholar, author and internationally-recognized expert on sports issues. The founder of the Center for the Study of Sport in Society in 1984 at Northeastern University became nationally known for its focus on educating athletes from junior high school through the professional level. Sport and Society helped form the National Consortium of Academics and Sports - a group of 215 colleges and universities that adopted Sports in Society's programs. Named "one of the 100 most powerful people in sport," he is known for integrating different racial groups to create positive work force environments. A prolific writer and nationally-requested public speaker, he has written more than 450 articles, authored 10 books with three more in production and delivered more than 2,600 speeches. Lapchick earned his Ph.D. in international race relations from the University of Denver and has received seven honorary degrees.

DR. TED LELAND is the director of athletics at Stanford University and hired Tyrone Willingham as the Cardinal's head football coach in 1994. Since taking over the reins of Stanford's intercollegiate athletics program, the school has won 40 National Team Championships and eight Directors' Cup Trophy, emblematic of the top athletic program in the nation. In 2000-01, Leland was honored by NACDA (National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics) and the Street & Smith's Sports Business Journal as the "Athletic Director of the Year." The award recognizes an Athletic Director for demonstration of commitment to higher education and student-athletes, continuous teamwork, loyalty and excellence, and the ability to inspire individuals or groups to higher levels of accomplishments. After serving six years as a member of the NCAA Management Council, he completed a two-year term as the council's chair. In 2002 and 2003, he was a co-chairman of the United States Secretary of Education's Commission on Opportunity in Athletics. The 15-member panel examined ways of strengthening enforcement of Title IX and expanding opportunities to ensure fairness for all college athletes. An athletics administrator for more than 20 years, he earned his Ph.D. in education/sports psychology from Stanford in 1982.

MARK PURDY has been a sports columnist at the San Jose Mercury News since 1984. He previously worked at the Dayton (Ohio) Journal Herald, Chicago Tribune, Cincinnati Enquirer and Los Angeles Times. He has been a contributing columnist to the Sporting News and has made television appearances on ABC's Nightline, Court TV, Fox Sports Net, ESPN Classic, and several Bay Area programs. On five occasions, he has been named to the Associated Press Sports Editors' annual list of America's Top 10 Sports Columnists. The South Bay's Metro Weekly has named him the "Best Local Sportswriter" and he was twice selected as Ohio Sportswriter of the Year by his colleagues while working in Cincinnati. A native of Celina, Ohio, Purdy is a 1974 graduate of Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. In the Bay Area, he is known as the columnist who named "McCovey Cove," the body of water behind rightfield at Pacific Bell Park, as a tribute to former Giants' slugger Willie McCovey. In 1989, he was a member of the Mercury News staff that received the Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the "World Series earthquake" that struck the area just before Game 3 at Candlestick Park.

RALPH WILEY is one of America's most distinguished African-American writers. A former sports reporter and columnist for the Oakland Tribune, he went on to write for Sports Illustrated. As a senior writer, he authored 28 cover stories on the athletes of our time. Presently, he is a columnist for Wiley is the author of several books on African-American sports personalities and racial issues in this country. His books include "Why Black People Tend to Shout," "Dark Witness: When Black People Should be Sacrificed (Again)," "Growing Up King: An Intimate Memoir," and "Serenity: A Boxing Memoir." Wiley has broadened his writing career into motion pictures producing scripts for films produced by Spike Lee.

DOUG WILLIAMS is the head football coach at his alma mater, Grambling State University, located in Grambling, La. Williams is entering his seventh season as a college head football coach. He was named the head coach at Morehouse College in 1997 and replaced the legendary Eddie Robinson as the school's head football coach in 1998. Grambling begins the 2003 season as the three-time defending Southwestern Athletic Conference champion. Williams was a star quarterback who became a first-round draft choice of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1978. The highlight of his professional playing career was in 1988 when he became the first African American quarterback to play in a Super Bowl. Williams led the Washington Redskins to a 42-10 win in Super Bowl XXII and was named the game's "Most Valuable Player." Pro Football Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs labeled Williams, " of the most talented people I've ever seen. Even when he was young, he was a natural leader."

DR. FITZ HILL is the head football coach at San Jose State University. Entering his third season at San Jose State, he is one of four African Americans who is currently a head football coach at a NCAA Division I-A member institution. Hill also is one of two head football coaches at this level who has earned a doctoral degree. In 1997, he earned his Ed.D. in higher education from the University of Arkansas. His doctoral dissertation, "Examining the Barriers Restricting Employment Opportunities Relative to the Perceptions of African American Football Coaches at NCAA Division I-A Colleges and Universities," is an objective review of the plight of African Americans in the college football coaching profession. Hill has given speeches and oral presentations across the country on this subject. A veteran of Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm, he was awarded a Bronze Star for service to his country.


DR. CHARLES WHITCOMB is the executive assistant to the Provost at San Jose State University. Dr. Whitcomb served nearly 20 years as the school's NCAA Faculty Representative and served as the Western Athletic Conference's representative on the first NCAA Management Council.. From 1991 to 2001, he served as the first chair of the organization's Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee. This NCAA committee raised the awareness of issues concerning women, ethnic minorities and diversity in the college athletics workplace and among its student-athletes, coaches and administrators. He is currently the Dean of the NCAA Leadership Institute for Ethnic Minority Males and serves as a consultant to the myriad of diversity programs sponsored by the association. A full professor in the department of recreation and leisure studies at San Jose State, he was department chair until he accepted his present position in the Provost's office. Dr. Whitcomb earned his Ed.D., from the University of Northern Colorado in 1976. His publications include, "The Extended Black Family Concept" and "Ethnic Awareness of Black Senior Citizens."