When reality and assumptions collide

Minnesota’s football team was segregated then, as were those in the South when Warmath arrived [from Mississippi]. By 1958, he had started recruiting black athletes from Pennsylvania, North Carolina and elsewhere. Warmath was hung in effigy on campus during the 2-7 season of 1959. He survived the attempt to buy out his contract, then took the Gophers to back-to-back Rose Bowls. Murray remained through 1971 — an 18-year run that took him from Southern outsider to a Minnesota legend.

“Someone very high in the administration came to me in those early years and said, ‘Coach, how many black players do you have now?’ ” Warmath said. “I said, ‘I never counted, but if I had two or three more like these young men, we would be really good.’

“He was trying to tell me I had enough black players, and I was saying, ‘Take a hike.’ “

It’s quite common in the liberal North to assume that all Southerners are racist, because all good Northerners know that race is what the Civil War was about, and why would the South have fought it if they weren’t all racists. I know what I’m talking about – I’m a Minnesotan after all, and when I have a serious conversation with another man I stand shoulder to shoulder with them and look 90 degrees away from the direction of the other guy the way you’re supposed to in civil Minnesota society. As this account of Murray Warmath, one of the U of M’s two great football coaches, shows, sometimes it’s actually the left-liberal PC college administration people that are the racists. These days, that’s usually the case. Now they just think that their schools have too many Asians and Whites.