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Mentorship Program to Link ADs, Minority Coaches

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The National Coalition of Minority Football Coaches, founded on the idea of Maryland coach Mike Locksley and UNLV athletic director Desiree Reed-Francois in August 2020, is launching its first year-long Coalition Academy in the hopes that a combination of mentorship, networking, leadership training and advocacy helps “advance the next generation of minority head coaches.”

Twelve assistant coaches will participate in the inaugural academy, according to Yahoo!Sports.

>Entering 2021, just 20 of the 130 head coaches in college football are minorities. (If Kansas interim coach Emmett Jones is kept full-time for 2021, that number grows to 21.) In the last college football hiring cycle, just two of the 15 full-time jobs went to minority coaches, Pete Thamel of Yahoo!Sports reported.

The Coalition Academy is matching some of the country’s most promising minority coaching candidates with athletic directors such Notre Dame’s Jack Swarbrick, Alabama’s Greg Byrne and Vanderbilt’s Candice Lee with the hope that the one-on-one mentorship better prepares the coaches for the next hiring cycle and beyond in terms of their "soft skills" — the terminology National Coalition of Minority Football Coaches executive director Raj Kudchadkar gives to such abilities as interview preparation, networking and media engagement.

The goal of the Coalition Academy is for the coaches to expand their reach, connections and visibility in their quest to become head coaches. The group is stressing connection, mentorship, leadership training and interview preparation as keys to equipping the coaches to help them get jobs. They’ll also use metrics to analyze the hiring landscape to further aid the coaches.

“What people need to understand is that we still want the best candidates selected regardless of color, race and gender,” Kudchadkar told Yahoo!Sports. “We’re hoping to diversify the applicant pool.”

Kudchadkar calls this initial effort a “pilot program,” with the hopes to build it out and connect more coaches and athletic directors in the future. “We want to include as many coaches as we can,” he said. “If we can scale up, we want to scale up as much as we can without compromising the integrity of the program. If that means next year we can do 40 members, then we’ll do that.”

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