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Volume 26 No. 109
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NCAA's Champion Forum Looks To Diversify Coaching Ranks

The NCAA is "attempting to address the yawning racial gap in head-coaching jobs with its Champion Forum, a professional development program aimed at helping promising black and other minority candidates climb to the top of the coaching ladder," according to Michael Fletcher of THE UNDEFEATED. Working with the Power 5, the NCAA each year "identifies a half-dozen minority assistant coaches for intensive training." Some of these rising stars are "already offensive and defensive coordinators." The program includes a "three-day seminar during which the participants hear speakers on every aspect of coaching, from academics to fundraising." Coaches meet with "search firms that compile lists of candidates for schools looking to fill head-coaching jobs." Most of all, they are "taught to think like a head coach." After the seminar, the forum "follows up with individual campus visits." Former Univ. of Virginia Exec Associate AD Jon Oliver "helps lead the program." Northwestern assistant coach Lou Ayeni said the program "shows you that it’s about much more than X’s and O’s." The NCAA has "run the program in different forms" since '06, and it has "produced some notable alumni," including FSU's Willie Taggart, Penn State's James Franklin, Stanford’s David Shaw and Vanderbilt's Derek Mason (THEUNDEFEATED.com, 8/21).