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Pete Thamel Insinuates Racism When UK Did Not Hire Charlie Strong


photo by Jennifer Palumbo

Guess Who’s back, back again, Shady’s back, tell a friend. This time the resident shady journalist known as Pete Thamel is back with this profile of new Texas Coach Charlie Strong. Mixed in with some interesting tidbits is the part of the article highlighted above, in which Kentucky is lumped in with a group of schools where Strong interviewed in which it is insinuated he was not hired due to the fact that he is African American and his wife is white. This is an issue that has been brought up in the Charlie Strong story before, but Thamel goes the next step and mentions the schools that could be indicted for the charge.

I can’t speak to what happened at the others schools as I am not familiar with their hiring process. I also would be naive if I didn’t leave open the possibility that Strong’s race and interracial marriage could not have played some part in his lack of a hiring opportunity at some point in his career. However Thamel’s decision to lump Kentucky into the category of schools that didn’t hire Strong because of race is simply not fair. Strong interviewed for the job when Kentucky hired Rich Brooks and if you speak with anyone that was around at that point, they all agree that he had an awful interview. The knock on Strong always was that his communication skills were not great (an issue that has followed him to Texas and has led to some early criticism) and that he did not do well in an interview setting. Kentucky ended up not going with Strong, in part for this reason, and to suggest that they didn’t hire him because of race isn’t fair for a reporter to insinuate who was not part of the process.

But even if such an accusation could potentially have some merit in general, in has zero place with Kentucky. Why? Because just a few years later, Kentucky hired an African-American coach with a white wife for the exact same position. Joker Phillips was hired by Barnhart and while he did not have success, his race, nor that of his wife, was no obstacle in him getting the job. If Kentucky was against Strong because of his race or his interracial marriage, why would they hire Joker just a few years later? Does Thamel believe that UK’s administration and Athletic Director all of a sudden became more enlightened? Of course not. Kentucky had no problem hiring a black coach with a white wife, when Strong was first interviewed or a few years later. The fact that they hired the wrong one of the two is not a symbol of racism, but rather simply a poor hiring decision.

Thamel, as per usual, went for the cheap hit and the easy shot on a group of programs. My guess is that individuals at all of those programs would disagree with his assessment, and their points may be completely valid. But in the case of Kentucky, to insinuate that Charlie Strong wasn’t hired because of his race/marriage is objectively false. However as we have seen with Thamel over the years, writing incorrect/misleading articles is par for his journalistic course and showcases once again why when the Hall of Fame of Overrated sports writers is erected, Pete’s bust will be part of the first ballot class, likely inducted by a beautiful speech from Manti Teo’s girlfriend.

Article written by Matt Jones

59 Comments for Pete Thamel Insinuates Racism When UK Did Not Hire Charlie Strong

  1. Conservative
    8:12 am July 25, 2014 Permalink

    When we disagree with our president, the same charge is brought up. To insinuate our disagreements with the president are based on race is also objectively false

    • hal
      8:33 am July 25, 2014 Permalink

      stop. just stop. its a sports blog……

    • Bobbaloo
      8:35 am July 25, 2014 Permalink

      You landed on the wrong blog, dude.

    • The Truth
      10:19 am July 25, 2014 Permalink

      AMEN! For you other two saying he/she commented on the wrong blog, you might want to consider looking over this website’s past posts and tell me if politics belong or not.

    • Bleed Blue
      3:47 pm July 25, 2014 Permalink

      Doesn’t matter if they don’t belong he is telling the truth. I have been called a racists for saying I didn’t like Obama even after giving details in his decision making as to why I didn’t like him.

    • AnotherConservative
      4:13 pm July 25, 2014 Permalink

      To insinuate that there aren’t a significant amount of people who disagree with the president because his background differs from theirs (not a white man) is also objectively false.

  2. spaghetti
    8:15 am July 25, 2014 Permalink

    Thamel will teach his kid to bunt in a tee ball game.

    • Bobbaloo
      8:38 am July 25, 2014 Permalink

      LOL! Then he’ll write a piece trashing a kid on the other team.

  3. Joe
    8:22 am July 25, 2014 Permalink

    As Vanderbilt also hired an African-American head coach, I don’t _think_ Thamel was insinuating that all of those schools were racist for not hiring Jolly Cholly. Just lazy, but I don’t really see this one as a huge deal.

    Also, when Strong has Texas going 4-8 in three years, the whole story is going to look vaguely hilarious.

  4. shorty blue
    8:24 am July 25, 2014 Permalink

    didn’t we hire an African-American? So not hiring one Strong because we hired Joker is racist?

    • Hookedon Phonics
      8:58 am July 25, 2014 Permalink

      Did you read the post?

    • Winston Churchill
      3:12 pm July 26, 2014 Permalink

      No, we hired a black guy. Joker is not from Africa and thus isn’t an African American.

  5. shorty blue
    8:25 am July 25, 2014 Permalink

    Sorry for typo: so not hiring Strong because we hired Joker is racist?

    • bramstin milsapp
      8:36 am July 25, 2014 Permalink

      Yes… yes indeed. Matt has already reported this point.

  6. Brian
    8:30 am July 25, 2014 Permalink

    Trolling A$$ HOLE. He must not be getting enough attention from those transvestites that he pays for sex. ( allegedly ).

    • Tom
      9:49 am July 25, 2014 Permalink

      Nice language!

  7. fact
    8:31 am July 25, 2014 Permalink

    you better be careful since you are taking the other side of an argument when it comes to race. The liberal media agenda will get mad. Just like when they tried to make a big deal about Tony Dungy’s comments about Micheal Sam. Sam sucks, thats why he didnt get drafted until the 7th round. I cant wait to see how the lib media spins it when he gets cut.

    • GP
      9:19 am July 25, 2014 Permalink

      Only idiots blame our problems on the “liberal media.”
      Stay over on

    • Piedma Schwartz
      9:26 am July 25, 2014 Permalink

      GP, just keep on being a sheep. BAAAAAAAAAAAA

    • The Truth
      10:25 am July 25, 2014 Permalink

      Don’t forget that liberal commentators are immune from being racist. When they speak out on something like this, they aren’t racists, they are merely champions for the truth and equality.

    • AnotherConservative
      4:15 pm July 25, 2014 Permalink

      Piedma, learn to make those sheep noises from Hannity, Beck, O’Reily, etc…?

      You all make a good refrain.

    8:31 am July 25, 2014 Permalink

    What’s up with CJ Conrad going up to Ohio St this weekend? Is he reconsidering his commit to UK ?

  9. The Bride of Chucky
    8:41 am July 25, 2014 Permalink

    To say his interviews went horribly is to be generous. It has always been my understanding that that is the exact reason it took Strong so long to land a head coaching gig. Strong carried a binder into interviews with him and when asked a question would literally look into the binder for the answer. Finally getting a shot at Louisville made perfect sense based on the Cardinals’ situation (league, not an especially prestigious program, aggressive AD) as well as Strong’s impeccable record as a defensive coordinator. I flat out refuse to believe that any of these programs made a decision based on his interracial marriage. In this day and age and universities being as liberal as they tend to be something like that would be rooted out in a minute even in an athletics program. Charlie is the reason Charlie couldn’t get a job…period.

  10. bigbluetruth
    8:45 am July 25, 2014 Permalink

    If Dungy was a white man he’d be looking for a job this morning. I don’t see anything wrong in what he said but if a white man had said it you’d be hearing about it 24/7. I wonder if the first black man in hired as basketball coach in school history at Duke or UNC if that’ll be a story, you can bet it won’t. What about the only black coach in IU history takes them to the final 4 but gets fired for creep crean.

    • What?
      9:03 am July 25, 2014 Permalink

      You’re missing alot of stuff that happened at IU between Mike Davis being fired and Tom Crean being hired.

  11. rob
    8:50 am July 25, 2014 Permalink

    Did you seriously credit the photo of a magazine? All the uncredited photos on this site, and you credit that photo? What the…

  12. BillyWildcat
    9:15 am July 25, 2014 Permalink

    I love the vindictive Matt…

  13. Piedma Schwartz
    9:24 am July 25, 2014 Permalink

    If I remember correctly, Tubby Smith was an african american, right?

    • The Truth
      10:27 am July 25, 2014 Permalink

      That’s why we fired him remember….according to some members of the media.

  14. Kevin
    9:40 am July 25, 2014 Permalink

    Hell, the UK job was not very enticing at the time either. Who is to say Strong would have taken it with the stink of Probation/limited scholarships?

  15. Nathan
    9:56 am July 25, 2014 Permalink

    Four of the six schools that were mentioned in this excerpt (Kentucky, Kansas, Vanderbilt and East Carolina) all have or have had black coaches within the last five years.

  16. History Lesson
    10:02 am July 25, 2014 Permalink

    Kentucky has always been the leader in the SEC in breaking color barriers. UK had a black head coach in the 1970’s, Fletcher Carr. I am sure he had a white girl friend or two. So let the haters hate. They are ignorant and know nothing of the real University of Kentucky. First to integrate in the SEC and they did it before Brown vs. Board of Education. But who cares about facts. Certainly not the liberal media who throw out race when they lose their argument.

    • clancyhat
      12:08 pm July 25, 2014 Permalink

      Interesting – I did not know that

    • HistoryLesson?
      1:13 pm July 25, 2014 Permalink

      UK leading breaking color barriers…. Bahahaha…. If I remember correctly, Bear left BECAUSE UK wouldnt let him mix his team… Alabama would…
      We know how that ended up…

    • SEC Sports History
      2:02 pm July 25, 2014 Permalink

      The following information is pulled from

      Whether it is fact or not is up to the reader these days. Either way it supports the posted comment by “History Lesson” and COMPLETELY debunks the false comment from ii. It is also an Alabama sports website.

      In 1966, the SEC was the last conference to integrate when Kentucky granted scholarships to Nat Northington and Greg Page. Since freshmen were not eligible for the varsity, 1967 would be their first season to compete. Disclosed during the airing are the circumstances surrounding the duo and the subsequent reaction to the rarely publicized tragedy which occurred during the Wildcat’s fall practice.

      Alabama’s unavoidable collision course of football and politics is analyzed during the documentary. Coach Paul Bryant recognized the imminent changing competitive configuration of the game’s athletes when he foreshadowed events in a November 1965 “Look” magazine story. “Negro players in Southeastern Conference games are coming,” he stated. The religious fervor of gridiron glorification merged with the prevailing race excluding politics preached by Alabama’s Governor Wallace presented him with a conundrum. Noted Bryant biographer Dunnavant elaborates about his ill-fated attempts to schedule integrated teams for a home game despite the objections from statewide factions.

      2:12 pm July 25, 2014 Permalink

      Nice try SEC sports history…
      You might have well posted an article for a recipe for pineapple upside down cake and claimed that it: “COMPLETELY debunks the false comments from anybody that doesnt agree with me and supports entirely my beliefs”
      What you posted has NOTHING to do with the fact that Bear LEFT UK for the SOLE reason that they wouldn’t let him play black kids… he then ended up at alabama who WOULD let him..
      We know how he went on to win 6 national championships for the Tide.. All thanks to UK’s Racism

      2:17 pm July 25, 2014 Permalink

      The problem with EVERYTHING you just said is that… you fail to realize the time gap…
      The Paul “Bear” Bryant era (1946-1953) was way before that… HE LEFT UK FOR TEXAS A&M because they would let him play blacks when UK and the rest of the SEC was still ass backwards…
      He wound up at Alabama where he worked wonders…
      Fact of the matter remains that… His main reason for leaving UK in 1953 (1966 is more than a decade away kid) is because UK was a bunch of racist pigs and he went somewhere that he could coach a mixed team. It is in his autobiography buddy… look it up sometime.

    • J-Dub421
      2:19 pm July 25, 2014 Permalink

      ii and iv You are quite ignorant. Bryant left UK because he was sick of being second fiddle behind Coach Rupp. Everyone knows this.

    • Actually
      2:28 pm July 25, 2014 Permalink

      That is a GREAT Justification tool buddy… I’m glad that you can sleep well at night with this “FACT” that “EVERYONE” knows…
      When actually you couldn’t be more wrong… stop trying to hide behind your own made up lies about your past like a victim of some crime.
      What you… AND EVERY brainwashed UK B-ball fan fails to realize and what we hardcore UK football fans know is fact IS THAT… In the 50’s and 60’s… basketball had the popularity of maybe field hockey.
      Basketball didn’t seriously take off until like the 70’s (Even at that, It is still WAAAAY behind football, which remains the country’s major sport).
      Basketball then and now are almost two completely different things. It had little popularity. There was only a handful of teams in the country that really took it seriously. The NIT was actually the premier tournament back then and the NCAA was yet to really step in and take the sport seriously. Dunking AND 3 point shots weren’t even a think until the mid 70’s…
      Basketball, no matter HOW MUCH you want to believe it… was just like cheerleading back then…
      ON the national stage.. Football IS and always HAS BEEN the major sport in this country. So NO… bear didn’t leave because of some lesser sport… bear left, AS HE SAID IN HIS OWN AUTOBIOGRAPHY… because of the racism at UK in 1953

    • WAIT UP
      2:49 pm July 25, 2014 Permalink

      SEC Sports History…
      You are quite desperate and hilarious…. Kentucky being up against an ethical wall more than a decade after Bear left because of racism has NOTHING to do with each other…
      The SEC was the last to mix… that is not impressive. Just because Kentucky was the first of the last group means nothing. It is STILL the team that Bear left so that he could mix his team in Texas.
      Stop being so desperate for gratification dude… it isn’t becoming

    • L1C6
      4:21 pm July 25, 2014 Permalink

      I like how BAHAhA or whatever that name is completely changed the point of the original post and then tried to laugh at people who argued w his post. What a moron. The original point s that UK was first in the SEC to integrate. You then then changed the argument to talk about Bryant. He went to A&M, not AL, to integrate. A&M wasn’t in the sec at that point. Therfore UK war the first SEC team to integrate, just add the original post says.

    • L1C6
      4:22 pm July 25, 2014 Permalink

      I would like to thank my cell phone for the typos.

    • THePoint
      1:30 am July 26, 2014 Permalink

      The point remains.. and what was being argued is that UK is racist

  17. Tom
    10:04 am July 25, 2014 Permalink

    Wait a minute.
    You mean that we turned down Strong because of his communication skills.
    Mr. Excitement, a.k.a. Mitch Barnhart, judges football coaches on their communication skills.
    I guess if Soupy Sales called he’s hired!
    How full was the room at SEC Media Days when our current coach spoke?
    If Spurrier or anyone else was speaking last do you think there would have more there?
    We need a comedy act on the sidelines to lessen the blow of what’s about to happen.

    • Gorsh You're a Big Cats Fan
      10:16 am July 25, 2014 Permalink

      Trolling, trolling, trolling…keep them Cards fans trolling! Your act is stale.

  18. Billy G
    10:29 am July 25, 2014 Permalink

    I remember I got hired because of my great communication skills. I kept telling them in the interview that they were asking bad questions and the next thing you know, I’m sitting court-side with my Dr. Pepper and Pop Tarts. Man those were good times.

  19. Just you
    10:29 am July 25, 2014 Permalink

    I tend to think your obsession with labeling people with differing views as “trolls” is whats growing stale!

    • Tom
      4:24 pm July 26, 2014 Permalink

      When you can’t add to the discussion, try bashing other posters, make you.look big a big boy

  20. CatsFanFrankfort
    10:33 am July 25, 2014 Permalink

    I dont really think it is the writer of the article who is insinuating racism. He clearly quotes this guy Drayton as mentioning that Strong’s race was a potential road block for his consideration. And all he says is that he was rejected from that group of programs. While it can be easy to infer that he meant that race could’ve been an issue at some or all of these schools, he doesnt specifically single out Kentucky. Just mentions he applied there. I think you are reading far too into this and just have a grudge against the journalist who wrote the piece.

    I just dont think there is much to see here. I am by no means an advocate of this guy Thamel, who at the very least seems to take potshots quite a bit, but its almost the same thing when KSR trashes him and others on a regular basis.

  21. UKfan
    11:01 am July 25, 2014 Permalink

    If this is true, is it also true white athletics are discriminated against in the NBA because of the color of their skin. Did the game change to better suit black athletes?

    • No
      12:46 pm July 25, 2014 Permalink

      It didn’t.

    • UKfan
      1:23 pm July 25, 2014 Permalink

      Prove that it didn’t. Thats the same approach the race baiters take when they make everything about race.

  22. CATandMONKEY
    11:04 am July 25, 2014 Permalink

    Thamel makes Forde look like Truman Capote.

  23. I had no idea that Strong and Joker have white wives, and for that matter, I had no idea that Strong interviewed for the UK job. I remember Doug Williams interviewed and I thought he would have been a better choice than Brooks because I thought Paw-Paw was washed up, but I was wrong.

  24. Dutch
    11:29 am July 25, 2014 Permalink

    More bullshit from the HATERS in this state!

  25. Mike
    12:19 am July 26, 2014 Permalink

    If a person has to look up his answer to a question in a notebook then I would say he’s not ready to lead a team.

  26. The Corporate Media
    10:18 am July 26, 2014 Permalink

    I love it when Dems and Repubs fight over the way I lean and spin things. The only bias I have is cash money and y’all on both sides keep handing it over. Thanks very much. Now if we could only get Jones and KSR in board….

  27. Scott Potter
    5:25 pm July 26, 2014 Permalink

    There is nothing too Thameltoe could say that would surprise me! Better to just ignore.

  28. CatsBalls
    5:06 pm July 27, 2014 Permalink

    I remember when Strong said that UofL would never lose to UK again, as long as he was head coach. Looks like he kept up his word. Now to see if Stoops will ever be able to beat Petrino, after last season it’s not too promising.