Black coaches encouraged by rise in diversity hires

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Drew Valentine, an assistant coach at Loyola Chicago the last four seasons, is the Ramblers' new head coach. The 29-year-old is the youngest head coach in college basketball.

CHICAGO — When DePaul coach Tony Stubblefield was growing up in Iowa, he attended a basketball camp hosted by George Raveling and instantly was wowed by the then-Hawkeyes coach.

The experience was so inspirational to Stubblefield that when he became an assistant college basketball coach years later, he reached out to Raveling to ask for guidance. It changed his life.

“I wanted someone to mentor me, and thank God he was willing to do that,” said Stubblefield, 51, who earned his first head coaching job in April when DePaul hired him. “I could bounce things off him. He gave me a lot of advice. It’s important we have mentors. That was something Coach Rav afforded me. And I never made a decision without consulting him.”

Mentorship among Black head coaches has been a continuous undercurrent in college basketball, and many coaches said it was partly responsible for a wave of offseason hires in a sport in which Black coaches have been glaringly underrepresented.

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