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Nadra Kareem Nittle

Did a Black College Discriminate Against Its First White Coach?

By May 31, 2010

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In 2007, Savannah State University made history when it hired Robby Wells--the school's first white football coach. But after leading the Savannah State Tigers for two years, Wells resigned early this year. He now says that the Georgia-based historically black college gave him the choice of resigning voluntarily or being fired.

But why? According to a federal lawsuit filed by the former coach, school officials not only took issue with his race but with the fact that he's engaged to a black woman.

"They believed that he would have difficulty connecting with their alumni and the community," James E. Rollins, Wells' attorney, told the Associated Press on May 28.

At a meeting in January, Wells alleges that SSU's vice president of administration, Claud Flythe, told him that Savannah residents would never support him because of his interracial relationship. A week after the meeting and a month after the coach had signed on for one more year, administrators reportedly urged Wells to resign.

Wells says Flythe and interim athletics director, Marilynn Stacey-Suggs, reprimanded him for not downplaying his relationship with Nicole Miller. Miller traveled with Wells to road games and appeared beside him on a float during the city's St. Patrick's Day Parade, the AP reported.

So, let's get this straight. In the 21st century a school employee was criticized for having an interracial relationship? Why is it wrong for Wells' fiancee to appear with him at school and public functions? Any significant other would do the same. But because Wells is white and his fiancee is black, he's accused of flaunting his relationship.

Moreover, why is Wells' interracial relationship viewed as something that would alienate the community? Isn't there a chance that SSU's mostly black community would feel more connected to Wells because he has chosen to marry an African-American woman and likely will have children who share their heritage? A different take on Wells' actions would be that he's more invested in the black community than most whites due to his close, personal ties with blacks.

Also, what do Wells' allegations, if true, reveal about the black community and interracial relationships? A story such as this seems to indicate that perhaps African Americans are more resistant to interracial relationships than generally thought. But an AP analysis of Census figures reveals that African Americans are now three times more likely to marry whites than they were in 1980. According to the AP, higher educational attainment, a more racially integrated military and a rising black middle class have resulted in about 14.4 percent of black men and 6.5 percent of black women marrying interracially.

So, while SSU officials may take issue with Coach Wells' impending nuptials to a black woman, they are apparently out of sync with African Americans overall. In reality, those blacks in the Savannah community not involved in interracial relationships themselves likely have friends and family members involved in such romances. Given this, there's no reason to sweep interracial romance under the rug in this day and age.


May 31, 2010 at 5:07 pm
(1) Richard Doten says:

As a Black man I am appalled at a college that would do the very same thing to a white coach that they claim is being done to black coaches in interracial relationships who have been discriminated against. When will we stop the same ignorant racist behavior as we accuse whites of doing.

May 31, 2010 at 10:50 pm
(2) Derek says:

I’m not saying that this story isn’t completely true, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there wasn’t more behind it. African-Americans tend to accept a white male/black female relationship almost completely. At least a lot quicker than they will a black male/white female relationship. It seems a little unlikely that the coach would even be asked to downplay it. Sorry, but it just doesn’t seem very believable. Just my two cents.

June 1, 2010 at 3:37 am
(3) star1 says:

Derek, that’s untrue and I think you know it. It’s the other way around. Black men have been dating and marrying interracially for so long that most black people don’t bat an eyelash when they see it. Nonetheless, many black Americans expect black women to give unconditional support to something they call the “black community.” Black women are supposed to “be strong” and “hold it down” faithfully until the black man “comes home” – even if it means dying alone.

Simply expressing attraction to any group of non-black men, but particularly white men – much less actively dating/being in an interracial relationship – is TREASONOUS in the eyes of some black Americans. “You sleeping with da slave massa. He has a slave fetish,” or “You betraying your grandma, who was raped by her slave massa,” “You have a mental condition that causes you to like being raped by slave massa” (note here they insult ACTUAL rape victims by calling CONSENSUAL modern relationships between white men and black women to rape), “You want money or light skin daughters,” and explicit claims about a non-black man’s supposed lack of ability to sexually satisfy black women (which is a myth) is just the TIP of an iceberg of stupidity we’re assaulted with from those who have a slave mentality and other serious issues.

I am a black woman married to a white man, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been verbally assaulted online by a black man – then found out he “dates” non-black women (they love bragging about how many they sleep with). I receive glares from black men when I’m out with my husband, even though I see twice as many black men/white woman couples. Lately, there’s a backlash against interracial relationships in the self-described black community, claiming it’s a media conspiracy to destroy black men and separate black men and women – even though black American men have been dating interracially since the Civil Rights Movement. Pffbt. It’s only a problem if black women are doing it.

Black men can and often do take their white girlfriends to live in poor black neighborhoods with little trouble. When they hit financial hardships, the black men’s mothers take them in, and his sisters help them comb their daughters’ hair. Even if they don’t like it, they are usually supportive when they need it. On the other hand, black women and white men in relationships have to avoid poor, majority black neighborhoods if they’re not looking for trouble. Google Brian Milligan, a young white guy beaten by a gang of jealous black thugs in Buffalo, NY for daring to have a white girlfriend – or the Pietrzaks, a beautiful young BW/WM couple brutally tortured and beaten, the woman also gang raped, and both KILLED by a group of black army officers, who then wrote racial slurs on the walls. The media tried to paint the Pietrzaks’ murder as a robbery, but to people with sense, it’s clear that people don’t brutally torture or write racial slurs on the walls of people they just want to rob. They obviously hated this couple’s relationship and wanted to make them pay dearly.

I’m not buying this “black men don’t care” business.

June 1, 2010 at 7:14 am
(4) shonda says:

I fill that SSU is full of it! I watched the espn interview on outside the lines and the AD told a bold face LIE. SSU has problems and it seems to me there racist

June 1, 2010 at 10:25 am
(5) omcgowan says:

Thanks to the sisters who blew the whistle on us brothers who dog black women for dating/sleeping with/marrying white men while we are sleeping with every color of woman… all of us have a long way to go until we reach the point where we put out the financial, emotional, and intellectual support we need to become folks judged by their moral behavior rather than their skin color

June 5, 2010 at 12:41 pm
(6) iecede says:

I can’t claim to know much about these situations, generally, but I will say. I recently heard about a white guy working for Native Americans who sued for discrimination, and won. As far as the legal issue goes, it’s ironic that whites are succeeding in lawsuits against minorities.
I’m not saying it’s unexpected . . .
As a society, we DO have a way to go.

June 6, 2010 at 2:38 am
(7) star1 says:

“Google Brian Milligan, a young white guy beaten by a gang of jealous black thugs in Buffalo, NY for daring to have a white girlfriend”

I meant to say black girlfriend, not white.

June 7, 2010 at 2:13 pm
(8) Barbara says:

After all these thousands of years of human history, and all of the trouble and pain and anguish bigotry has caused, humans still haven’t learned. They won’t let it go. Human beings are a stupid species. Sometimes I have more regard for my cats.

June 8, 2010 at 9:06 pm
(9) SMILES says:


Thank you for your comments. Your post on 1 June 2010 was the abosolute truth!

July 29, 2010 at 4:29 pm
(10) Whitebread says:

Well as a white man, Im apalled at several things. 1) his lawsuit. You knew what you were getting into before you applied. 2) dont get a black chick just to fit in. Im glad the allumni saw through that ploy. Be real you stupid dumb cracker. 3) what was his record at the time of firing? If it sucked, you deserve to be fired you sell out piece of trash

August 2, 2010 at 1:50 am
(11) tampamom says:

Coach Wells and his fiance were together 3 years before he took the job at Savanna State University so he didn’t date her just to fit in. Also Coach Wells had the best season at the school than the school had in over 11 years ~ do your research before you speak. I really HATE when people speak out on something and they don’t know what there talking about. IDIOT

August 2, 2010 at 1:55 am
(12) tampamom says:

This school did discriminate on this coach and their family.
This school has has had 3 racal discrimination lawsuits against it. The first lawsuit the school settled with the Coach so the Coach won his case. Since Coach Wells filed his lawsuit there has been another lawsuit against the school involving 4 white football players. This school is very destructive…Do your homework, GOOGLE RACIAL DISCRIMINATION AT SAVANNAH STATE UNIVERSITY and well see for yourself! This school breeds racism !

October 11, 2010 at 3:52 pm
(13) John says:


“Well as a white man, Im apalled at several things. … Be real you stupid dumb cracker.

Somehow I doubt you’re ‘white’

March 19, 2011 at 8:47 pm
(14) nik says:

Most white guys will not date black women. It’s a no no.

December 6, 2012 at 5:24 pm
(15) robert says:

My experience with inter-racial marriages is knowing about one or two black female/white male and a half dozen black male/white female and maybe a couple of black male/Asian female pairings, so I don’t have a lot of knowledge on the subject.

However, I have noticed on several occassions it was black women who took umbrage at black men married to non-black women, and hard resentment toward white women, not the common myth about white men being in an uproar over women who marry black men.

I was told they resent it, becaue it reduces the availability of black men as prospective husbands, but I’m pretty sure there’s racism involved as well.

Too, do rape statistics tell us anything about black/white/non-black sexual preferences, so far as race is coincerned?

Lawrence Auster in 2007, wrote an article for Front Page Magazine

document Criminal Victimization in the United States, 2005.

“In the United States in 2005, 37,460 white females were sexually assaulted or raped by a black man, while between zero and ten black females were sexually assaulted or raped by a white man.

“What this means is that every day in the United States, over one hundred white women are raped or sexually assaulted by a black man.”

I’m raising this issue, because I think it is strong evidence that black men prefer white women and that if more were accepted by white women black/white marriages would be far greater than they are right now.

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