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[SPORTS] Lloyd Lee - NFL's 1st Asian American Coach in Super Bowl

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  • madchinaman
    First Asian Coach Goes to the Super Bowl http://news.ncmonline.com/news/view_article.html? article_id=519b75de14ed68e81f8c243a8108d080 EDITOR S NOTE: Bears
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 7, 2007
      First Asian Coach Goes to the Super Bowl
      http://news.ncmonline.com/news/view_article.html?
      article_id=519b75de14ed68e81f8c243a8108d080


      EDITOR'S NOTE: Bears Coach Lloyd Lee is the game's first Asian
      American coach in the Super Bowl. There are many reasons he's a
      rarity, writes NAM editor Pueng Vongs.

      SAN FRANCISCO — Lost in the celebration of the first black head
      coaches to reach the Super Bowl is that the first Asian American
      coach wll be pacing the sidelines in the Big One.

      When the Chicago Bears meet the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, on the
      sidelines with Bears head coach Lovie Smith, who gave the Windy City
      back its strut, will be Lloyd Lee, assistant coach on defense. He's a
      rare sight, one of the few Asian American coaches in the NFL.

      It's not surprising to me that there are very few Asian coaches in
      the NFL. My Asian parents and most others I know want their children
      to be brain surgeons, engineers, harpists. The last thing they want
      is their kid getting speared by a helmet in the neck or coaching jr.
      high football for $28,000 a year, where many NFL coaches get their
      start.

      What they don't understand is that it often requires mathematical
      brilliance to figure out the dozens of permutations Colts'
      quarterback Peyton Manning could line up for his explosive offense in
      the 30 seconds before he snaps the ball. A quarterback needs surgical
      precision to penetrate the lightning-quick defense of Da Bears.

      Lloyd Lee understands this. He was a star safety at Dartmouth before
      being drafted by the San Diego Chargers. Okay, the Ivy League
      conference is not the same as the Big Ten conference, but he helped
      Dartmouth to an undefeated season and a championship.

      Lee eventually went the way many Asian American players do – leave
      the game or settle for the sidelines. They're often seen as too small
      or not fast enough for the NFL. He was cut after one year alternating
      on the Chargers' practice squad.

      Instead of going to the 9 to 5 world, Lee stuck with football. He
      found a job in the back office as a scout for the Tampa Bay
      Buccaneers, trading body crunching for numbers crunching. The Bears
      also hired him as a Defensive Quality Control coach, which partly
      means technical stuff, organizing the club's computer data and video
      cuts.

      Last year the Bears promoted Lee back to the battlefield, and he's
      now a defensive coach butting heads with the defensive backs and
      linebackers. It's now those backs that he worked with who will be
      flying across the field to put the big hurt on Manning and Co. in
      pursuit of the holy Super Bowl XLI ring.

      It's doubtful Lee will someday achieve the stature of Bears' coach
      Lovie Smith and his mentor Colts' coach Tony Dungy. There are simply
      not enough Asian coaches in the NFL to mentor other Asian coaches,
      and not enough Asian players to rise through the ranks.

      For example, African American players make up 70 percent of the NFL,
      and 18 percent of head coaches. There are just three NFL players of
      Asian descent in the league, Pittsburg Steelers wide receiver Hines
      Ward, who is half-Korean, Tennesee Titans offensive lineman Eugene
      Amano, who is Filipino, and New York Giants safety Will Demps, who is
      also half-Korean. There are no Asian head coaches.

      Some say Norm Chow, former offensive genius of the USC Trojans, who
      helped the team to two national championships, could be the next
      Asian hope. He's considered one of the most creative minds in
      football and is now the offensive coordinator for the Tennessee
      Titans. But some said when he got that job that he deserved to coach
      his own NFL team. Chow even got a second look for head coach of the
      Arizona Cardinals recently, but didn't get the job.

      Seeing an Asian on the sidelines of the Super Bowl will go a long way
      in inspiring the Asian American players -- Chinese, Vietnamese and
      Filipino -- who are now at the core of high school championship
      football teams in San Francisco, constantly dispelling myths that
      they are too slow and not as strong.

      For Asians to make to head honcho in the greatest show on turf, they
      will need the continuing help and mentoring of ethnic minority
      coaches that come before them. Just like my beloved Bears head coach,
      an African American, who hired a defensive coordinator who is a
      Latino, Ron Rivera, now being considered as the head coach for the
      Dallas Cowboys. Rivera himself hired an Asian as an assistant coach,
      Lee. This mutual support gives new meaning to the term Super Bowl.
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