In the wake of the Brian Flores lawsuit and many issues surrounding diversity in the league, the NFL is doing what it can to improve equity in the football game. This year, the NFL is hosting its first-ever Coach and Front Office Accelerator program. Sixty participants from around the league’s coaching and front office staff are taking place in a two-day program in Atlanta that coincides with the league’s spring meetings. All 32 teams were able to nominate participants. The Dallas Cowboys are sending Joe Whitt Jr. and Chris Vaughn.
Joe Whitt Jr. is the defensive passing game coordinator and secondary coach. He has held several collegiate and pro coaching roles across the country since 2000. Dan Quinn brought on Whitt Jr. in Atlanta in 2020 and also coached with Mike McCarthy in Green Bay for 11 years. Whitt Jr. helped the Packers bring home a Lombardi Trophy.
Chris Vaughn is the assistant director of college scouting. Vaughn has been with the Cowboys for six years and works under Will McClay. Before starting his career as a scout, the assistant director was a coach for 18 years.
Dallas Cowboys send Chris Vaughn and Joe Whitt Jr. to NFL’s inaugural Coach and Front Office Accelerator program
According to the NFL, the program was created to help create diversity in head coaching and GM roles around the league:
“The program will provide senior women and minority prospects with leadership development sessions with football operations experts and facilitators, as well as time spent networking directly with club owners. The effort is designed to continue building a diverse hiring pipeline for future head coach and general manager positions throughout the League. ”
Through a series of talks about the business of football and leadership development, the league hopes this program will help minorities feel like they have a chance to be a head coach or front office executive. In theory, the two-day seminar will allow years of inequity in NFL hiring to start to change. It gives head coach and GM candidates a chance to meet face-to-face with some of the most influential decision-makers in the league. Here is what commissioner Roger Goodell had to say about the event in Georgia:
“The NFL is committed to diversity and inclusion, and this program is the latest in a series of steps designed to improve our hiring practices and create opportunities for advancement. The program helps ensure that clubs receive exposure to high-performing, up-and-coming NFL talent and candidates get a chance to learn the business at a working level from team owners and executives. ”
According to ESPN, the idea for the program came from a league diversity committee that met at the NFL Combine. Some head coach or GM hopefuls were bothered that the first time they ever met a team owner was when they went to interview for a job. This comes on the heels of the announcement that all 32 NFL teams will be required to have a minority offensive assistant coach for the 2022 season. While there has certainly been diversity growth in certain roles, there are still only five minority head coaches in the entire league. This program hopes to change that.