Maryland football coach Mike Locksley on Thursday announced the creation of a group intended to promote minority hiring in college and professional football.
The National Coalition of Minority Football Coaches, a nonprofit foundation, will aim to level the playing field for minority coaches with professional training, educational resources and help from a prestigious board of directors that includes Ravens executive vice president Ozzie Newsome.
“Despite the vast numbers of minority football players at all levels, minorities are disproportionately excluded from or limited in coaching opportunities at most levels,” the NCMFC wrote on its website. “The reasons for their exclusion is inextricably interwoven into the societal roadblocks that underrepresented individuals frequently face. These roadblocks create an unfortunate imbalance where minorities do not enjoy meaningful participation in available coaching opportunities.”
According to the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport’s annual report card, nearly half of all student-athletes in Division I football at the Football Bowl Subdivision level in 2019 were Black. Of the 130 FBS programs, Locksley is one of just 14 Black coaches.
In the NFL, 70% of the league’s players and just three of its 32 head coaches are Black.
Diversity remains a problem at the coordinator levels, too. The Chicago Tribune found that in February, only seven FBS schools had a Black coach running the offense, while four other schools had one with a co-coordinator title. On defense, there were just 16 Black coordinators, with another six listed as co-coordinators.
Before founding the NCMFC, Locksley was active in minority coaching development. In June, he attended the third annual Quarterback Coaching Summit, a program that offers NFL and NCAA assistant coaches of color professional development and networking opportunities.
Locksley, who’s entering his second year at Maryland, told NFL.com that he hopes vetting by his board of directors will help advance qualified coaching candidates. In addition to Newsome, the NFL’s first Black general manager, the board includes Alabama coach Nick Saban, Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, Pro Football Hall of Fame general manager Bill Polian and former Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow.
“They all have been at the top of the mountain, per se, in their respective areas,” Locksley said. “We want to use their experiences to help us formulate and produce the list of qualified candidates, so when people say there aren’t enough minorities to fill the positions that have come open over the years, we’re going to produce a list of qualified people that shows there are qualified people. What’s needed is opportunities.”