Why I founded the National Coalition of Minority Football Coaches and how I see our future success<Br>By Mike Locksley

Being raised by a single mother, my football coaches became the father figures that I didn’t have. Many of them served as role models that I still admire to this day. As I continued to move up the ranks, I knew that I would have the opportunity to have that same impact on my players. It wasn’t until recently I realized that I could have a similar influence on young coaches that looked like me just trying to forge their paths in this great game of football. 


I owe a lot of the opportunities football has given me to my high school football coach, Frank Young. He was one of the first people to make me and my teammates realize that college was a real and viable option for us. He found us a way out — and where I grew up, very few people ever left that neighborhood. 


Because of the game, I'm the first in my family to graduate from college. Football introduced me to my wife. It’s allowed me to have a family. Throughout my career, I've taken a little bit of life’s lessons from every coach that I worked with and every athlete I have had the privilege to coach. They all guided me in my success. 


The pandemic forced us all to stop. There were no games to prepare for — only life. It gave us all what I consider a much-needed time to reflect and think. The idea of The National Coalition for Minority Football Coaches came to mind in a phone call with Coach Mike Tomlin last year. We started talking about the head positions we have and how we got here. Recognizing that we’re both on the back nine of our coaching careers, it is hard to think that things aren’t looking any easier for minority coaches. So, I thought - how can we give back? How can we pay it forward? 


Thus, the Coalition was born. Our goal is to prepare, promote, and produce a complete coach. Imagine an almost Renaissance man, someone who meets all the needs of a football coach, both on the field and off. I'm a big believer that if you can see it, then you can achieve it. That vision now gives the next generation the ability to realize that they’re capable of doing it too.


My idealistic view is that the world should become more like the locker room. Think about it — every racial, socioeconomic barrier is broken in the locker room. In there, we’re all playing on one team. In partnership with Under Armour, we can push this narrative onto the playing field. Under Armour is a champion for our cause, and that means the world to me. 


Our future success as a Coalition is critical. This is something that we don't take for granted. We must keep this door open for minority coaches. I want every qualified candidate to get the opportunities that I have had and then some – to be given the guidance that I was given. I know that we need to do this the right way and create a strong foundation for minority coaches to build upon for years to come and I thank Under Armour for standing behind us as we pave the way forward. 


The better we do today, the more doors we open in the future.