Chiefs among leaders in the NFL on topic of diversity.

Posted Sep 12, 2012

Scott Pioli among team executives and coaches paving way for the NFL's future.

Recently, the NFL established the BILL WALSH NFL MINORITY COACHING FELLOWSHIP ADVISORY COUNCIL to further enhance the idea conceived by the late Pro Football Hall of Fame head coach Bill Walsh. 

Walsh introduced the concept to expose talented minority college coaches to the NFL’s methods and philosophies when he invited a group of minority coaches to participate in San Francisco 49ers’ training camp.

Ninety-one minority coaches took part in this past summer’s Bill Walsh NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship. The program has mentored more than 1,500 minority coaches since it was established in 1987.

The 13-member council – comprised of club presidents, general managers, head coaches and assistant coaches – will focus on developing a pipeline of minority coaches, including former NFL players pursuing opportunities in the coaching profession.

Among those leading the charge was Kansas City’s General Manager, Scott Pioli. “It is imperative we continue to create opportunities, not only in coaching but in every other aspect of the league,” Pioli is a Bill Walsh NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship Advisory Council member and an advocate for change. “This fellowship program is important as long as we continue to teach and mentor individuals with one basic premise in mind – educate. I am a firm believer in the proverb of, ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.’”

The council meets regularly to recommend league-wide best practices in selection criteria for fellowship candidates, standardization of program elements and tracking results for future improvements. 

Members of the Bill Walsh NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship Advisory Council:




Earnest Byner

Tampa Bay

Running Backs Coach

Martin Mayhew


General Manager

David Culley


Wide Receivers Coach

Scott Pioli

Kansas City

General Manager

Leslie Frazier


Head Coach

Andy Reid


Head Coach

Rod Graves


General Manager

Gene Smith


General Manager

Russ Grimm


Offensive Line Coach

Rick Smith


General Manager

Mike Holmgren



Ken Whisenhunt


Head Coach

Gary Kubiak


Head Coach

Cincinnati Bengals head coach MARVIN LEWIS, who earned NFL Coach of the Year honors from the Associated Press in 2009, interned with the San Francisco 49ers (1988) and Kansas City Chiefs (1991) and endorses the program.

“For a young coach, an opportunity through the fellowship is like a college student getting a great internship,” said Lewis. “Suddenly you’re exposed on a daily basis to some of the best people in your field, and you have a chance to show them first-hand what you can do.”

Lewis is one of four current NFL head coaches – LESLIE FRAZIER (Minnesota), LOVIE SMITH (Chicago) and MIKE TOMLIN (Pittsburgh) are the others – who are graduates of the program.

“This program has been extremely beneficial over the years, paving the way for many coaches who have gone on to successful NFL careers,” said Cleveland Browns president MIKE HOLMGREN, who serves on the Advisory Council. “As a head coach with the Packers and Seahawks, I had many coaches work for us during camp who were able to get full-time positions because of that valuable experience. It was a tremendous learning environment for them and it continues to open doors for many young coaches.”

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