NFL's 'QB Summit' to be the next step in addressing lack of diversity in coaching
The conference will bring together young minority coaches in an attempt to facilitate more integration into NFL staffs
After an offseason in which eight teams searched for new head coaches and only one African American is in line for a job, the NFL is continuing efforts to increase diversity through a "QB Summit," to take place in Atlanta this June.
The conference will bring together young minority coaches on the offensive side of the ball (quarterbacks coaches, quality control coaches, interns) with established head coaches of all backgrounds in an attempt to facilitate more integration into NFL staffs. With so many owners seeking a "quarterback guru" and offensive play-callers as head coaches in recent years, and so few African American and Latino coaches currently in those positions in the NFL, the league hopes this ongoing event will foster more integration in the offensive coaching ranks.
Troy Vincent, the NFL's VP of football operations, and former NFL quarterback and personnel executive James "Shack" Harris have overseen the effort. In recent years, the ranks of minority head coaches has been shrinking through firings and/or retirement, with only Patriots defensive coordinator Brian Flores, who's heading to Miami as head coach, set to join the ranks in 2019 alongside Mike Tomlin (Pittsburgh) and Anthony Lynn (Los Angeles Chargers). There are currently just two African American offensive coordinators and three quarterbacks coaches in the league.
"Coaches tend to hire who they know and who they trust. And IF I don't know you then we don't have that trust built up and I don't know right away if we are aligned philosophically,'' Vincent said. "That is one of the objectives of the summit, to expand those horizons and get coaches together with some assistants they do not already know."
"We could see this trend coming three years ago, so we knew we had to put something together to try to grow the pipeline of minority coaches who are working with quarterbacks," Harris said. "We are identifying young coaches on offense and giving them the chance to develop a connection with a group of coaches who have great experience with coaching quarterbacks.
"They can learn from them and study with them, but also get to network with them. So when those head coaches are needing to hire an offensive coordinator or a quarterback coach, they will be familiar with these coaches, and if they don't hire them they can recommend them for another job. We're trying to establish a pipeline of minority coaches working with the quarterbacks for college and pro."
The summit will take place at Morehouse College in Atlanta in June. This is the second year the league is conducting the seminar, and Harris said invitations are going out in the next three weeks. He said that this year the league wants to create more time for the coaches to interact away from the field and also expand the number of experienced and novice coaches involved.
"The hope is that the people there feel a connection with these coaches and feel good about their ability," Harris said, "and go on to endorse them or hire them."
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