Maryland HC Mike Locksley Forms Coalition to Support Minority Football Coaches

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistAugust 6, 2020

Maryland head coach Mike Locksley looks on prior to an NCAA college football game against Nebraska, Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019, in College Park, Md. (AP Photo/Will Newton)
Will Newton/Associated Press

University of Maryland head coach Michael Locksley announced Thursday he's formed the National Coalition of Minority Football Coaches, a nonprofit organization aimed at helping minority coaches have a path toward upward mobility within the profession.

Locksley, 50, discussed his motivation with Jim Trotter of NFL.com.

"When I took the Maryland job last year and looked at the landscape of college football, I thought to myself, 'There's something missing. I'm on the back nine of my career and the pathway to becoming a head coach is still as difficult as when I got into the business in 1992,'" he said. "I wanted to create an organization that would be able to help prepare, promote and produce the next group of coaches coming up through the ranks at every level."

Locksley has brought in an experienced, high-profile group of coaches and executives to serve on the NCMFC board of directors:

  • Bill Polian
  • Chris Grier
  • Debbie Yow
  • Desiree Reed-Francois
  • Doug Williams
  • Mike Tomlin
  • Nick Saban
  • Oliver "Buddy" Pough
  • Ozzie Newsome
  • Rick Smith
  • Willie Jeffries

The Terrapins' coach told Trotter he's going to work with them to show NFL teams and college programs there is no shortage of minority coaches who deserve an opportunity:

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"These are all people that have either hired head coaches or coordinators or filled upper-level positions throughout their careers. They all have been at the top of the mountain, per se, in their respective areas, whether winning Super Bowls or national championships or being pioneers, like Debbie Yow and Willie Jeffries. 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."

There are only three Black head coaches in the 32-team NFL and 14 Black head coaches at the 130 FBS college football programs heading into the 2020 season, per Trotter.

"The NCMFC will remove the roadblocks to coaching opportunities for minorities through innovative programming, networking and first-of-its-kind promotion strategies," the organization's official website reads.

In January, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the league understood changes were necessary.

"Clearly, we are not where we want to be," he told reporters. "It's clear we need to change and do something different. There's no reason to expect a different outcome next year without changes."

Locksley told Trotter his group isn't looking to overtake the Fritz Pollard Alliance Foundation, another group created to help minority coaches in the NFL, but rather work in lockstep with all organizations trying to promote the advancement of Black coaches at all levels of football.

He expects the NCMFC will be fully operational with an initial list of candidates in four or five months, which would put those people in line for consideration during the 2021 coaching cycle.