LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD
Under Armour's partnership with the National Coalition of Minority Football Coaches finds long-term opportunities for minority coaches
Most NFL players are Black.
There are only three Black head coaches.
Three. This is not for a lack of job vacancies. There were eight head coach vacancies in the last hiring period. Minority coaches are just not afforded the same opportunities as their white counterparts.
The exclusion of minority coaches is a systemic issue. There are countless societal roadblocks that underrepresented people face. When most of the people doing the hiring and the interviewing are white, a coach’s Blackness makes their résumé look worse. Those with the ultimate say on hirings in the NFL are the team owners — only two are minorities and none are Black.
Representation matters and football is more than a game. It's a microcosm of America.
“There are so many qualified minority coaches out there that have the tools, the skillset, and the experience," explains University of Maryland Coach Mike Locksley. “The more that the next generation sees the Mike Locksleys and the Mike Tomlins in head coaching positions, the more they see that they can do it. That, to me, is half the battle. They need to see it to believe that they can do it.”
Locksley realized the need for change. In June 2020, he established the National Coalition of Minority Football Coaches (NCMFC). The NCMFC prepares, promotes, and produces minority coaches at all levels.
“I'm a big believer in third-party validation,” continues Locksley. “It's hard for a qualified coach of color to stand in front of people and champion himself. The people that make hiring decisions tend to look for candidates that will validate them. You hear all the time, ‘It’s a pipeline issue. There aren’t enough qualified minority coaches.’ That’s not true. It's the job of the Coalition to produce and promote great coaches.”
In a first-of-its-kind partnership, Under Armour stands alongside the NCMFC. Together, they're finding solutions to the equity problem within the ranks of football.
“Individually, we can make a difference,” says Sean Eggert, Under Armour’s SVP of Global Marketing. “Together, we can instill change.”
Under Armour’s work comes in the form of financial support, amplification, and a five-year commitment to the NCMFC. This echoes the brand's long-term efforts in equity and inclusion. A goal of the partnership is to provide the necessary resources for preparing minority coaches. In partnership, they will amplify the work and success of minority coaches, so once-marginalized coaches will remain top-of-mind for those hiring.
“Under Armour exists with a simple focus: make athletes better” explains Eggert. “At Under Armour, we strongly believe that sport is the ultimate unifier. In a locker room, different races, religions, and socio-economic backgrounds all come together for one goal.”
For Coach Locksley, a partnership between the NCMFC and Under Armour is necessary for any long-term success.
“I couldn't find a better partner than Under Armour,” proclaims Locksley. “They’re helping us build something from the infant stage to something larger than life. Under Armour, itself was developed with the mindset of an underdog. They're diverse, high-energy, and never quit. These are some pivotal attributes that the Coalition needs to grow.”
The partnership between Under Armour and the National Coalition of Minority Football Coaches brings more diversity, equity, and inclusion to football. Together, they’re leveling the playing field. For good.