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Cardinals Showing Commitment to Diversity in Search for Next Head Coach

Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill said he would cast the net far and wide for their next leader at head coach. Thus far, that's been the case with a majority of minority candidates occupying their list to replace Kliff Kingsbury.

The NFL has long struggled to accurately represent minorities at the top level of organizations. 

Just yesterday, Ran Carthon was officially announced as the first black general manager in Tennessee Titans history. 

Although the Arizona Cardinals wouldn't be making history of their own with a minority candidate at head coach, the organization may not be too far behind the Titans. 

Thus far, the Cardinals have shown interest in eight candidates to take over for Kliff Kingsbury: Aaron Glenn, Sean Payton, Brian Flores, Vance Joseph, Frank Reich, Ejiro Evero, DeMeco Ryans and Dan Quinn.

Only three of those coaches (Payton/Reich/Quinn) are white. 

Each candidate has an obvious amount of pedigree and qualifications to make them a suitor: Flores did a remarkable job with a bad Dolphins team, Joseph has prior head coach experience/knows the Cardinals well, and others (Ryans/Evero/Glenn) are highly respected defensive coordinators. 

By the end of this week, the likes of Glenn/Joseph/Evero/Ryans are all expected to complete interviews with the team. 

Entering the 2022 season, only six minority candidates held head coaching jobs.

At his Tuesday introductory press conference, new Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort was asked about the importance/commitment to diversity. 

"I think diversity is of huge importance to this organization. I think getting different viewpoints, whether it's race or experience, that makes us all better," he said. 

"I'm not coming in here saying that I have all the answers and it's my way or the highway. I have processes and systems that I believe in, but I need help and I need help from people that are here. I need help from people like the head coach that may not be here yet, so those are all important characteristics of how I feel an organization should run. To your point about the development, one big thing that we talked about this past week was the importance of, on the personnel side and the coaching side, of developing not only our scouts, but developing coaches. 

"Because inevitably, when we have success here, people are going to come looking for our people because we're going to do things the right way. People are going to recognize that and we're going to lose people. The importance of having our next group of people to step into those roles---we can't overestimate the importance of that. We are definitely going to focus on diversity and development and that's going to be a hallmark of this program.”

The Cardinals reportedly first offered their GM role to Chicago Bears assistant general manager Ian Cunningham - who is a person of color himself - before he turned the position down. Arizona also requested to interview Carthon among other candidates. 

Bidwill also spoke on the team's commitment to diversity: 

"As you know we are committed to diversity and I think we've got a diverse group of employees today. We are committed to looking with an open mind in finding our new head coach and that's what we'll do," he said.

Time will tell if the Cardinals hire their next black head coach - something they did with Steve Wilks before firing him after one season - but the interview process is rich in minority candidates, a step in the right direction for both Arizona and the rest of the league. 

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