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LEVELING THE PLAYING FIELD

Under Armour partners with the National Coalition of Minority Football Coaches to find long-term opportunities for minority coaches.

The football field is far from level. Minority coaches have fewer opportunities and are held to a tighter timeline for success. With so many career limits, there's no such thing as limitless potential. There's no excuse for this lack of representation, and it's time for a significant change in the sport. ​

No one questions the need to fight for greater leadership diversity in Silicon Valley or on Wall Street. Diversity leads to higher revenue, increases creativity, and improves productivity. It also notably reduces racism. Representation matters and football is more than a game. It's a microcosm of America.

Under Armour's partnership with the National Coalition of Minority Football Coaches finds long-term opportunities for coaches of all backgrounds. The new partnership seeks to bring more diversity, equity, and inclusion to football. NCMFC is a resource and ally for meaningful diversity and inclusion in coaching. Under Armour and the National Coalition of Minority Football Coaches are at the forefront of leveling the playing field for good.

THE COMMITMENT

Over 70% of players in the NFL are minorities, but this season (2021) only 15% of coaches are minorities. In College Football, roughly 65% of players are minorities and only 16% of coaches are minorities. There's no excuse for this lack of representation, and it's time for a significant change in the sport. The National Coalition of Minority Football Coaches and Under Armour are partnering together to make a more equitable sport.

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THE FOUNDING

"My idealistic view is that the world should become more like the locker room. Think about it — every racial and socioeconomic barrier is broken there, and we’re all playing on one team."

–Mike Locksley, Head Coach for the University of Maryland and Founder of the National Coalition of Minority Football Coaches (NCMFC)

Read, in the founder's own words, how the NCMFC was born amidst a global pandemic.

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THE LEADERS

Coaches of all levels form a National Coalition of Minority Football Coaches to shake up the sport and level the playing field.

Head Coach, Pittsburgh Steelers

"Those in hiring positions are looking for something that's familiar. They want somebody who’s relatable to them. Often, that's not a minority. So from the start, we're challenged to open people's hearts and minds. We have to convince them to choose something different — that, at least, looks different.

People ask me about the desires of a minority coach. They’re the same as the desires of any coach. We aspire to greatness. Additionally, a minority coach wants to provide opportunities for others in that same space. I want to make the road to head coaching easier for other people of color. They deserve the opportunity to chase their dreams. 

Minorities in America have faced inequities and challenges since the beginning of time. Sports in this country have been a great equalizer. But why doesn't the equity seen on the playing field extend to positions of power? 

I got into coaching because of my love for the game of football. When I was growing up, my coaches were the stand-up guys in the community. They were the guys who I aspired to be like. In turn, I want my love of the game to inspire the next generation."

 

Mike Tomlin, Head Coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers

Offensive Coordinator and Wide Receivers Coach, University of Michigan

"One of the biggest roadblocks I see is minority coaches assigned as recruiters. They’re not given credit for player development or on-field schematic strengths. This is extremely challenging at the collegiate level. There, a big part of the job is recruiting a higher percentage of minority athletes. Mostly white coaching staff will lean on minority coaches to relate to families of color. It’s critical that young minority coaches are more than recruiting tools. They deserve appreciation for their true coaching abilities. 

Diversity and representation in high-profile coaching positions are very important. It wasn't until I worked under an offensive coordinator of color that I saw my potential to climb the coaching ladder. 

NCMFC is inspiring belief and hope for a whole new generation of minority coaches. They're ready to rise to the occasion. They just need the chance. The backing of a major corporation like Under Armour will amplify the Coalition’s impact. 

My greatest moments as a coach are not wins or accolades. They’re the relationships I have with my players and the joy I receive from them achieving their goals."

 

Josh Gattis, Offensive Coordinator at The University of Michigan

Offensive Coordinator, Clemson University

"My mentor, Coach Dabo Swinney, leads with love, passion, accountability, and discipline. He values his players as people first. He prioritizes character development over football skills. He taught me so much. I aim to do the same — especially for minorities in football.

Representation is so important. A living and breathing example is far more impactful than words on a page. Head coaches and coordinators need to be held accountable. Often they fail to provide their minority assistants with true opportunities to develop. 

There’s a stereotype that minority coaches are only good for recruiting and managing student-athletes. This bias leads to many minority coaches landing coaching positions that don’t involve a high level of critical thinking. But education and accountability can bring change. NCMFC is bringing visibility to quality candidates. We're inspiring a younger generation of minority coaches. We're preparing them as qualified candidates for the most sought-after head coaching positions."

 

Tony Elliott, Offensive Coordinator at Clemson University

Wide Receivers Coach, Los Angeles Chargers

"It’s extremely important to see the success of people who look like us. You need to see it in order to realize your full potential for advancement. I want to open opportunities for minority coaches to progress to leadership positions. Too often, we’re pigeonholed. We just want the opportunity to be inclusive and be given the same opportunities as everyone else is afforded.

The National Coalition for Minority Football Coaches is doing a phenomenal job in heightening awareness of the lack of progress football has had in diversity up until now. The Coalition is preparing minority coaches. We're positioning them for success and improving their skills for the hiring process. There’s already been such exceptional work in terms of promotion thus far. We’re making it increasingly difficult for non-minorities to overlook the need for inclusion."

 

Chris Beatty, Wide Receivers Coach of The Los Angeles Chargers

CHANGE THE GAME

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NCMFC is removing roadblocks to coaching opportunities for minorities. Football is more than a game. It's a microcosm of America. The better we are, the more doors we open for the next generation.

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