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Old 11-29-2007, 10:31 AM
dlk9s dlk9s is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2004
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Default Re: Football Coaches: The Hiring Process

I had the opportunity to speak with Ray Anderson, then VP of the Atlanta Falcons and now (I believe) NFL Executive VP of Football Operations. I asked him why the rule was in place that NFL teams had to interview a black coach. This was right around the time that the Lions were hiring Steve Mariucci - they knew he was the guy they wanted and didn't bother giving other interviews. Seemed to make sense. If the coach who you really want is available, why go through a bunch of token interviews?

What Mr. Anderson said made sense. It's not that a black coach will get interviewed, blow everyone away, and get hired. Of course, that might happen (Jim Mora, Jr. surprised the Falcons in his interview - I don't believe he was the front-runner at the time), but it typically won't if it's essentially a "courtesy" interview.

The importance of interviewing a black coach is for that coach's advancement down the road. When teams are looking to fill a coaching vacancy, they will talk to other executives and coaches around the league to get some input. If, say, the Lions had interviewed a black coach even though they knew they were going to hire Mariucci, they still might have been very impressed with that coach as the result of the interview. When another team calls Matt Millen to ask if he has any recommendations, that interviewee's name very well could come up. Then, that coach will get the chance to legitimately interview for a head coaching spot.

Additionally, people who were involved in the interview process will inevitably take positions with other teams. When those teams have new openings, they will remember the coach who really impressed them in the "courtesy" interview and possibly give him a shot at the job.

Plus, the "token" interview allows the candidate to gain experience interviewing for a head coaching position and get feedback so he can go into the next interview better prepared.

Basically, it's all about networking and contacts. Giving someone a chance to make a positive impression now (even if there is no real intention to hire the guy) can help them in the future as the good word spreads.
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