A week after addressing the issue on HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin discussed the NFL's lack of Black head coaches in a follow-up interview with Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, expressing his concern about the lack of progress in Black coaches getting hired for open jobs.
“I don’t have an answer for you as to how to make it better,” Tomlin said. “The optimist in me says things will get better, but there’s been no evidence in the recent cycles to back that up. Without evidence, all we have is hope. We just haven’t been able to move the needle.”
Tomlin specifically addressed Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, who has not followed in the paths of previous offensive coordinators under Andy Reid that have gone on to become head coaches. That Bieniemy has yet to matriculate to the next level is, to Tomlin, a "real head-scratcher."
“Every offensive coordinator Andy Reid has had in the last 20 years got a head job," Tomlin said. "One of those guys, Brad Childress, hired me in Minnesota in 2006. Now, Andy has the best offense he’s ever had and (Bieniemy) can’t get a job?”
Tomlin also addressed the issue of him not having a Black coordinator during his 14-year helm with the Steelers. Last offseason, he interviewed Pep Hamilton for his vacant offensive coordinator position but ended up promoting quarterbacks coach Matt Canada instead.
“I always do what is best for our organization,” Tomlin said. “I believe in hiring from within in most cases. ... I’m highly sensitive to it, but I don’t regret (not having a Black coordinator). I’ve had some good (Black) coaches leave for other jobs. Ray Horton. Scottie Montgomery went back to college. Kirby Wilson was hurt in that house fire.”
Tomlin is one of three Black head coaches in the NFL, along with Brian Flores of the Miami Dolphins and David Culley of the Houston Texans.