Former Mississippi State coach Sylvester Croom will be the subject of an ESPN documentary in the SEC “Storied” series, commissioner Mike Slive announced today.
Croom became the first black head football coach in the SEC when MSU hired him in December of 2003. The irony is that Croom never wanted the focus to be on that milestone, telling fans during his introductory press conference, “The only color that matters is maroon.” But it was indeed a big moment for the SEC.
“It was a moment in time that I will always remember as one of the most significant things that has happened during my tenure and that could happen during my tenure,” Slive said today. “SEC ‘Storied’ is a way of analyzing that and viewing it in the context of our history.”
The movie is being directed by Johnson McKelvy, who has worked on several documentaries and TV specials. An exact air date is not yet known, but it’s expected to be this fall.
In five years at MSU, Croom compiled a record of 21-38 with one winning season (8-5 in 2007, won the Liberty Bowl). His impact, of course, has been felt in other ways. The league currently has three black head coaches: Vanderbilt’s James Franklin, Kentucky’s Joker Phillips and Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin.
“He’s one of the most terrific individuals that I’ve ever been around, and not only will (the documentary) be a tribute to Mississippi State, it’ll be a tribute to this conference as well as to college football,” said former MSU athletics director Larry Templeton, who hired Croom.
After being fired following the 2008 season, Croom returned to the NFL to coach running backs with the St. Louis Rams. He’s currently an assistant for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
More to come in tomorrow’s Journal.