The NFL has established the Bill Walsh NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship Advisory Council to further enhance the idea conceived by the late Pro Football Hall of Fame head coach Bill Walsh, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced today. Walsh introduced the concept to expose talented minority college coaches to the NFL’s methods and philosophies when he invited a group of minority coaches to participate in San Francisco 49ers’ training camp.
Ninety-one minority coaches took part in this summer’s Bill Walsh NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship. The program has mentored more than 1,500 minority coaches since it was established in 1987.
The 13-member council – comprised of club presidents, general managers, head coaches and assistant coaches – will focus on developing a pipeline of minority coaches, including former NFL players pursuing opportunities in the coaching profession.
“It is imperative we continue to create opportunities, not only in coaching but in every other aspect of the league,” said Kansas City Chiefs general manager and Bill Walsh NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship Advisory Council member Scott Pioli. “This fellowship program is important as long as we continue to teach and mentor individuals with one basic premise in mind – educate. I am a firm believer in the proverb of, ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.’”
The council will meet regularly to recommend league-wide best practices in selection criteria for fellowship candidates, standardization of program elements and tracking results for future improvements.
Members of the Bill Walsh NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship Advisory Council:
|Earnest Byner||Tampa Bay||Running Backs Coach|
|David Culley||Philadelphia||Wide Receivers Coach|
|Leslie Frazier||Minnesota||Head Coach|
|Rod Graves||Arizona||General Manager|
|Russ Grimm||Arizona||Offensive Line Coach|
|Gary Kubiak||Houston||Head Coach|
|Martin Mayhew||Detroit||General Manager|
|Scott Pioli||Kansas City||General Manager|
|Andy Reid||Philadelphia||Head Coach|
|Gene Smith||Jacksonville||General Manager|
|Rick Smith||Houston||General Manager|
|Ken Whisenhunt||Arizona||Head Coach|
Cincinnati Bengals head coach MARVIN LEWIS, who earned NFL Coach of the Year honors from the Associated Press in 2009, interned with the San Francisco 49ers (1988) and Kansas City Chiefs (1991) and endorses the program.
“For a young coach, an opportunity through the fellowship is like a college student getting a great internship,” said Lewis. “Suddenly you’re exposed on a daily basis to some of the best people in your field, and you have a chance to show them first-hand what you can do.”
Lewis is one of four current NFL head coaches – Leslie Frazier (Minnesota), Lovie Smith (Chicago) and Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh) are the others – who are graduates of the program.
“This program has been extremely beneficial over the years, paving the way for many coaches who have gone on to successful NFL careers,” said Cleveland Browns president Mike Holmgren, who serves on the Advisory Council. “As a head coach with the Packers and Seahawks, I had many coaches work for us during camp who were able to get full-time positions because of that valuable experience. It was a tremendous learning environment for them and it continues to open doors for many young coaches.”