Maryland head coach Mike Locksley has formed the National Coalition of Minority Football Coaches to help increase minority hiring in college and professional football.
Locksley, 50, founded the coalition due to his disappointment over the low numbers of minority coaches hired in the sport. According to its website, the nonprofit group will look to "remove the roadblocks to coaching opportunities for minorities through innovative programming, networking and first of its kind promotion strategies."
"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,' " Locksley told NFL.com's Jim Trotter. "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."
The Coalition will also put together a list of candidates that will be vetted by its board of directors. The board includes some of the top names in football, including former Hall of Famer and Baltimore Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome, Alabama head coach Nick Saban, Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, Miami Dolphins general manager Chris Grier and UNLV athletic director Desiree Reed-Francois.
"These are all people that have either hired head coaches or coordinators or filled upper-level positions throughout their careers," 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."
Locksley first started thinking of developing a program like the Coalition in 2018, when he worked as Alabama's offensive coordinator. After seeing qualified minority coaches being overlooked for head coaching and coordinator jobs, he put together the QuarterBlack Symposium with his friends Pep Hamilton, currently the Los Angeles Chargers' quarterbacks coach, and Thomas Bundy, a lawyer. The Symposium allowed minority coaches to network, and the NFL later adopted the program and turned it into the Quarterback Coaching Summit.
There are currently only three Black coaches in the NFL–Tomlin, the Los Angeles Chargers' Anthony Lynn and the Miami Dolphins' Brian Flores–and 14 in college football among the FBS' 130 programs.
Locksley hopes the Coalition can provide qualified minority candidates for prospective employers and give those coaches greater exposure.