Leslie Frazier has risen to the pinnacle of his profession as a football coach – he’s the head coach of a National Football League team. And now Frazier will have the opportunity to help others begin a career in the NFL as a coach in similar fashion to how he began his NFL coaching career back in the 1990s.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced on Wednesday that the NFL has established the Bill Walsh NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship Advisory Council to further enhance the idea conceived by late Pro Football Hall of Fame head coach Bill Walsh. Frazier, a coaching veteran of 25 years (14 of which have come in the NFL), has been named to the advisory council. 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.
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. The program has mentored more than 1,500 minority coaches since it was established in 1987, and 91 minority coaches took part in this summer’s Bill Walsh NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship.
Frazier is not the only current NFL head coach who graduated from the Bill Walsh NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship. 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.”
This past training camp, the Vikings welcome six coaches to the team as part of this program. They were: Junior Adams (Eastern Washington), Granville Eastman (Austin Peay), Darrell Fullington (St. Thomas Aquinas), Alex Jackson (Mississippi Valley State), Prince Pearson (Prairie View A&M), Ted White (Howard).
Also, the Vikings have three current assistant coaches on Frazier’s staff who are graduates of this program: QBs coach Craig Johnson, TEs coach Jimmie Johnson and RBs coach James Saxon.
The Bill Walsh NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship Advisory Council consists of: Tampa Bay RBs coach Earnest Byner, Philadelphia WRs coach David Culley, Frazier, Arizona GM Rod Graves, Arizona OL coach Russ Grimm, Cleveland President Mike Holmgren, Houston Head Coach Gary Kubiak, Detroit GM Martin Mayhew, Kansas City GM Scott Pioli, Philadelphia Head Coach Andy Reid, Jacksonville GM Gene Smith, Houston GM Rick Smith and Arizona Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt.
Tags: Craig Johnson, James Saxon, Jimmie Johnson, Leslie Frazier
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