To close out the month of November, the NFL announced that 122 coaches participated in the 2021 Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship, along with 25 aspiring scouts who also participated in the 2021 Nunn-Wooten Scouting Fellowship.
Each year the National Football League (NFL) works to develop a stronger, more diverse pipeline with an effort to allow candidates the opportunity to be considered for various football operations roles within NFL clubs.
“I believe the impact that the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship and Nunn-Wooten Scouting Fellowship have had on our game is truly remarkable. It has opened up so many opportunities for coaches and personnel executives that otherwise may not have gotten them, especially men and women of color,” said Washington Football team coach and former Chicago Bears linebacker Ron Rivera. “These fellowships both give deserving men and women the opportunity to get their foot in the door and pursue a career that they are passionate about. As someone who took part in an NFL coaching internship to start my career, I appreciate that by getting that opportunity, I earned everything I’ve achieved from that point on.”
The Diversity Coaching Fellowship, named after late Pro Football Hall of Fame head coach Bill Walsh, provides NFL coaching experience to talented minority college coaches, high school coaches and former players.
The program is a vocational tool to help increase the number of full-time NFL minority coaches where all 32 NFL clubs have participated since its inception in 1987.
The Nunn-Wooten Scouting Fellowship, launched in 2015, exposes NFL legends, former college football players, and those currently working in college football to a career in scouting. The program gives participants a unique glimpse into player personnel by introducing them to various areas related to both college and professional scouting.
These fellowships also serve to help former collegiate football players and NFL legends, such as Orlando Franklin and Clint McMillan, get back into the game. Franklin, a former seven-year NFL veteran, interned with the 49ers this past summer. At the end of his fellowship, Franklin accepted a coaching position in San Francisco. Former Florida State defensive tackle Clint McMillan was brought on to the Titans staff following the end of his fellowship with the club.
While most fellowships occur during Training Camp, minicamp, or organized team activities, some clubs choose to extend their Fellows into the season.
The extensions of these fellowships highlight clubs’ continued dedication to developing a diverse pipeline of personnel.
The 2022 Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship and Nunn-Wooten Scouting Fellowship applications will open in March 2022.
Joseph Phillips is the Sports Editor for the Chicago Crusader Newspaper. He is a Chicago native, who has been a sports writer for over 17 years. He also hosts the SC Media News and Sports Network Q&A radio show on WHPK 88.5 FM Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected].
Joseph Phillips is the Sports Editor for the Chicago Crusader Newspaper. He is a Chicago native, who has been a sports writer for over 17 years. He also hosts the SC Media News and Sports Network Q&A radio show on WHPK 88.5 FM Chicago.