Franklin, Phillips to make history

November, 10, 2011
11/10/11
5:00
PM ET
The winner Saturday between Kentucky and Vanderbilt will keep alive its bowl hopes.

But over and above football, the game will also constitute a first.

It will be the first time in SEC history that two black head coaches will go up against each other in football.

James Franklin is in his first season at Vanderbilt, while Joker Phillips is in his second season as the Kentucky head coach.

Perhaps the most refreshing thing about Saturday's matchup is that very little has been made about this being the first matchup of two black head football coaches in the SEC. Certainly, it warrants being mentioned and will always be a slice of this conference's history.

But the fact that it's not a huge story is a good sign that we continue to make progress in these parts (and in the SEC) when it comes to race, although there's still a ways to go.

Remember, it was only seven years ago that the SEC hired its first black head football coach. Sylvester Croom coached at Mississippi State from 2004-08. Phillips followed Rich Brooks at Kentucky in 2010, becoming the SEC's second black head football coach. Franklin was the third when he was hired at Vanderbilt prior to this season.

Chris Low | email

College Football

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