Sylvester Croom, Jr. (born September 25, 1954) was the former football head coach at Mississippi State University and current running backs coach of the St. Louis Rams. He was the first African American head football coach in the Southeastern Conference. His father, Sylvester Croom, Sr., was himself an All-American football player at Alabama A&M, later the team chaplain at the University of Alabama, and has been recognized posthumously by that school as one of the state's 40 pioneers of civil rights. On November 29, 2008, one day after his team was beaten 45-0 in the Egg Bowl to rivals Ole Miss, he announced his resignation as head coach of Mississippi State's football team.
Croom, a native of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, starred at Tuscaloosa High School as a linebacker and tight end. He then played those same positions before settling in at center for Paul "Bear" Bryant at the University of Alabama, where in 1974 he was a senior captain, earned the Jacobs Blocking Trophy, and like his father years earlier earned Kodak All-American honors. During his playing career there, Alabama garnered three SEC championships from 1972 to 1974 and a national title in 1973.
He played one season in the National Football League for the New Orleans Saints before returning to the University of Alabama to begin his coaching career.