Israel Woolfork, who spent the last eight years coaching at Miami (Ohio), has been picked as the Browns’ next recipient of the Bill Willis Coaching Fellowship, which is given to a rising minority coach on offense.
Woolfork was a wide receiver at Grand Valley State from 2008-12 and is from Michigan. He will primarily work in the quarterbacks room with Browns quarterback’s coach Drew Petzing.
Woolfork previously worked with Browns coaches during the 2021 offseason as part of the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship.
“This was an opportunity to come back and work for a great organization, and I wanted to jump on that opportunity,” Woolfork said. “This is my dream job — to be in the NFL. This has always been a dream of mine, and to finally have that opportunity now is really awesome.”
“We created the Bill Willis Fellowship to help address an issue in our league that we all need to do our part to impact,” Head Coach Kevin Stefanski said.
“Andrew (Berry) and I have tried to be very intentional about adding diverse perspectives to both the coaching and personnel side of our organization. Historically, there has not been enough diversity on the offensive side of the ball and specifically in the quarterback room. Israel is a young coach that we got to know last year for a short period of time as a Bill Walsh Fellow. He worked with us virtually in the Spring and then spent a few days with us at training camp and quickly impressed. He’s really an outstanding young coach that did a really good job in his role at Miami. He wants to come in here and learn but he also has a lot of experience that he can bring to the QB room. He’s jumped right in with that group and is making an impact already. We’re excited about having him in our program and having him work with Drew and (Offensive Coordinator) Alex (Van Pelt) with our quarterbacks.”
Woolfork joins the Browns after serving as Miami’s wide receivers coach. Woolfork was also the running backs coach from 2015-17 and started coaching in the program as a graduate assistant in 2013-14.
Woolfork’s transition from coaching college football to the NFL should be much easier thanks to his work with the Bill Walsh Fellowship. He mainly worked with the tight ends and partnered with Petzing, who was the tight ends coach last season before he moved to QB coach for 2022.
Woolfork and Petzing have kept in touch since the fellowship ended. Now, they’re back in the building together, ensuring Woolfork learns what he needs to succeed after the fellowship and finding ways to make the Browns’ 2022 season a success at the QB position.