Miami reality TV star wants to show women can coach football – Orlando Sentinel

9 months ago Comments Off on Miami reality TV star wants to show women can coach football – Orlando Sentinel

What do you get when you hire a tow-truck-driving female reality TV star and the leader of a legendary rap group whose obscene lyrics once got him arrested?

If you said the new coaching staff at Miami Jackson High, congratulations.

Now let’s all hold our breath and hope it works out.

Jackson made Lakatriona Brunson the first female head coach in Florida history last week. Also introduced at the press conference was the new assistant head coach, 2 Live Crew front man Luther Campbell.

If there’s a Rock and Roll Heaven, Susan B. Anthony just downloaded “As Nasty As They Wanna Be.” She would be all for Brunson driving her truck through the glass ceiling. You don’t have to be a feminist, however, to start pulling for the Generals.

We live in a country founded on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If happiness comes from coaching football, being a girl should not matter.

Caveat — If they qualify.

Nobody should be handed a job just because they are a woman. But there’s no reason a woman can’t do this particular man’s job.

“You don’t need to have played the game to coach the game,” Lee Corso said. “You need to be around the game.”

Everybody knows Corso as the mascot-head-wearing sage on ESPN “College GameDay.” But before that he coached for 27 years.

At Indiana in 1972, Corso shocked college football when he hired a female as an assistant coach in charge of academics. But before any of that, he was the quarterback at Miami Jackson. What would a 15-year-old Corso have thought if he showed up at practice and found a woman barking orders?

“It would have been different,” he said.

In the “I Love Lucy” Days, most people would have laughed, protested or fainted at the sight of a female coaching men. The evolution has been s-l-o-w.

The NBA has two female assistant coaches. The Buffalo Bills just filled their “special teams quality control coach” opening with Kathryn Smith, the first fulltime assistant in NFL history.

The exact number is hard to pin down, but there are only three or four females coaching high school football. The longest tenured is Amy Arnold of Great Hearts Academy in Gilbert, Ariz.

She played in women’s football leagues but had no coaching experience when the small, private school hired her eight years ago. At the first practice, skeptical parents (mostly fathers) lined the fence and watched.

“After about five minutes, I put all their worries to rest,” Arnold said.

That middle-school team won its league championship. Great Hearts moved up to high school competition. Arnold has relied on the basics of all successful coaches — organization, knowledge, communication and motivation.

Those traits aren’t gender specific. Though I don’t blame anyone for being jolted by the mere thought of a female Bill Belichick.

Which brings back to Brunson. She played in women’s football leagues and is a P.E. teacher at Jackson. But to viewers of TruTV, she is “Bernice,” the raucous repo star of “South Beach Tow.”

If you’ve never seen her swear, kick, punch or even ride a jet-pack in her quest to repossess cars and boats, I suggest you check it out. As for Campbell, if you’ve never heard “Luke Skyywalker” croon, I suggest you send the kids to a galaxy far, far away before checking him out.

The “As Nasty As They Wanna Be” album was initially banned in some Florida counties in 1990. Campbell has been running a youth football league for decades and actually had a good reputation as a defensive coordinator at Norland High.

He said Jackson administration approached him with its plan last month. It smells like a publicity stunt, but everybody swears it’s legit.

“I don’t take this as a joke,” Campbell told the Miami Herald. “I didn’t want to be a part of no circus.”

The tent has already been constructed. Brunson’s hiring was national news, and the world will be watching this fall.

What will it see?

“I can talk the talk,” Brunson said, “and walk the walk.”

Here’s hoping she doesn’t stumble because success would send an important message to girls and boys. To paraphrase 2 Live Crew:

You can be anything you wanna be.