Coalition launches program to lift minority football coaches

An organization started by Maryland’s Mike Locksley is trying to help advance the careers of minority football coaches by connecting them with the people who do the hiring in college sports.

The National Coalition of Minority Football Coaches launched its first Coalition Academy this week.

The program matches coaches and athletic directors for mentorship. Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott, Notre Dame defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman, Nevada head coach Jay Norvell, UNLV head coach Marcus Arroyo and Michigan offensive coordinator Josh Gattis are among the 12 coaches participating.

UNLV athletic director Desiree Reed-Francois spearheaded the program and is among 13 current and former ADs taking part. Reed-Francois is also a member of the coalition’s board.

“In the end, as in many professions, relationships and advocacy matter,” Reed-Francois said in a statement. “The Academy will hopefully foster lifelong relationships between coaches and decision-makers. The Academy will provide minority coaches with one more tool in their belt as they seek to advance their careers and we are grateful to the mentors and to the coaches for their willingness to move college athletics forward.”

Other athletic directors involved include Jack Swarbrick of Notre Dame, Dan Radakovich from Clemson, Greg Byrne from Alabama and Wisconsin’s Barry Alvarez, who will be retiring this summer.

Locksley, who is one of 20 minority head coaches among 130 major college football schools, founded the coalition last year to “prepare, promote and produce” minority coaches at all levels of football.

The rest of the coaches taking part are Pep Hamilton of the Houston Texans; Brian Johnson of the Philadelphia Eagles; Jerry Mack of the Tennessee Titans; Travaris Robinson of Miami; Willie Simmons of Florida A&M; Ryan Walters of Illinois; and Everett Withers from Florida International.

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