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Volume 27 No. 10
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Study: Coaches Of Color Have Fewer Opportunities For NFL Head Jobs

The Dolphins' Brian Flores was one of just three black coaches in the NFL this season
Photo: getty images
The Dolphins' Brian Flores was one of just three black coaches in the NFL this season
Photo: getty images
The Dolphins' Brian Flores was one of just three black coaches in the NFL this season
Photo: getty images

African Americans and other minority football coaches "don't have the same opportunities" as Caucasians to "become head coaches in the NFL or get rehired after leaving a head coaching position," according to a study cited by Martenzie Johnson of THE UNDEFEATED. The introduction of the Rooney Rule in '03 has led to "more coaches of color leading teams on a yearly basis," but researchers found that minorities "still fare worse when it comes to hiring, retaining their positions and being granted 'second chances' at head positions." The study, conducted by Arizona State's Global Sport Institute and the UCF College of Business' Research Center for Innovative Academic & Athletic Prowess, studied the "race, prior experience and future experience for head coaches and offensive and defensive coordinators over 10 years" from '09-19. After leaving a "head coaching position, 14% of white coaches were hired as head coaches again the following season compared with just 7% of coaches of color." The researchers found that before the Rooney Rule was implemented in '03, the NFL "averaged 2.23 coaches of color per season," and after '03, that has "jumped to 3.76." ASU GSI Dir of Research Scott Brooks said that this increase can "partly be attributed to the increase in black head coaches at the collegiate level." Johnson noted one of the study's limitations was "lumping all persons of color together," including soon-to-be Redskins coach Ron Rivera, who is of Hispanic descent (THEUNDEFEATED.com, 12/30).

JOB FAIR: In N.Y., Ken Belson notes in June, several of the NFL's "most prominent minority coaches and executives gathered at Morehouse College in Atlanta to try to dispel" the idea that there are "not enough qualified candidates of color" for offensive coaching jobs. The meeting, known as the Quarterback Summit, featured about three dozen aspiring candidates for such jobs who "heard from seasoned professionals" and African American coaches and execs, past and present. The prospects also "got to network." The Quarterback Summit, organized by the NFL and being held for the second straight year, "took on a new urgency when the number of minority head coaches and general managers plummeted by half" in the '19 offseason, "reversing years of progress." The summit is "just one of the efforts to increase diversity in the NFL" (N.Y. TIMES, 12/31). 

RAPID REACTION: NFL Network's Jim Trotter said, “This is not an NFL problem, this is an ownership problem. Owners hire people, the NFL doesn’t. The NFL has done a tremendous job at putting in place programs to promote and to circulate the names of these candidates." He added, “This is how bad this situation is: There are minority candidates on the collegiate level now who are declining interviews with NFL teams because they are concerned that they are sham interviews, that they are not legitimate." Trotter reported Clemson co-offensive coordinator Tony Elliott "declined an interview" with the Panthers because in part, he "wasn't sure it would be a legitimate interview." NFL Net’s Steve Wyche said of the personnel and GM side of the issue, “They haven’t done their homework because we’ve seen non-play callers, because they come from a certain system, get head coaching jobs in the NFL or get general manager jobs. But I think in the personnel department pipeline, because the only coach of color hired last year was hired by the only black GM in the NFL, I think that’s just as important” (“The Aftermath,” NFL Network, 12/30).