Who Are Top Minority Coaches Vying for NFL Jobs?

Who Are Top Minority Coaches Vying for NFL Jobs?
Fact Checked by Pat McLoone

As the NFL playoffs draw to a close, teams searching for head coaches will be making their choices for 2023.

There are five implied openings for head coaching jobs and there is an emphasis on hiring minority coaches to lead teams in a league in which approximately 70% of the players are people of color.

Despite stated ambitions to accomplish the extremely worthwhile purpose of more minority coaches, progress has been seen to be too sluggish.

In 2022, minority coaches in the NFL included Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin (likely Hall of Famer with an incredible streak of 16 seasons of .500 or better); Miami’s Mike McDaniel; Tampa Bay’s Todd Bowles; Houston’s Lovie Smith (fired at the end of the season); the New York Jets’ Robert Saleh (Egyptian and Lebanese descent); Washington’s Ron Rivera (Hispanic), and Carolina’s Steve Wilks (interim for 12 games in 2022).  

Teams interviewing for head coaches: the Arizona Cardinals, Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos, Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts.

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No Shortage of Qualified Head Coaching Candidates of Color

BetKansas.com, your home for news and info on Kansas sports betting, analyzes the deep field of candidates of color for NFL head coaching jobs.

Here is the list:

Eric Bieniemy, Kansas City offensive coordinator.  All Bieniemy did as OC is lead the Chiefs to first in the NFL in yards per game and points scored in his first season as offensive coordinator in 2018. Since then, Kansas City has had one of the most potent offenses in the league. In 2022, the Chiefs led the league in scoring with 496 points.  And as for critics who dismiss the 53-year-old Bienemy’s success as the product of star quarterback Patrick Mahomes, here’s a reminder that current Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels got two head coaching jobs for his work with New England as offensive coordinator when the Patriots had a guy named Tom Brady.

Bieniemy and head coach Andy Reid will be tested again in formulating a game plan with Mahomes hobbled with a high ankle sprain. Kansas sportsbooks are noting that challenge. BetMGM Kansas, for example, has the Chiefs a 2.5-point underdog at home against the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC title game.

DeMeco Ryans, San Francisco defensive coordinator. Ryans, 38, is the shooting star right now.  The 49ers have the No. 1 defense in the NFL and Ryans has become a familiar TV celebrity coach energetically stalking the sideline. His coaching resume is brief. His first NFL assistant job was in 2017. He was a linebackers coach for three seasons and DC for two seasons.  However, his relatively recent 10-year playing career (2006-2015) might make him more relatable to players.

Jim Caldwell, former head coach with Indianapolis and Detroit.  In his first head coaching job with the Colts, he took Indianapolis to the Super Bowl, where it lost to New Orleans. Caldwell had a successful run as the OC in Baltimore, where he helped the Ravens to a Super Bowl win. He was named head coach in Detroit -- where coaching careers usually go to die -- but he was 36-28 for a perennially struggling team. He was still fired. Unfortunately, Caldwell’s biggest problem in 2023 might be age. He is 68 years old.

Steve Wilks, interim head coach in Carolina. By any objective standard, Wilks deserves a shot in Carolina. A hometown guy from Charlotte, Wilks inherited a dumpster fire of a team in 2022 that was giving up on its presumptive starting QB (Baker Mayfield) and wound up trading its best player (RB Christian McCaffrey).  After the firing of Matt Rhule, who started 1-4, Wilks righted the ship enough to finish the schedule 6-6 in the AFC South with surprise wins over Tampa Bey, Detroit and Seattle.  Wilks, 53, had a one-year shot as Arizona’s head coach in 2018 and that did not go well.  The Cardinals were 3-13.

Leslie Frazier, Buffalo defensive coordinator. Frazier, 63, is a familiar name in NFL circles as both a player and a coach. He was a defensive back on the great 1985 Chicago Bears defense and was head coach of the Minnesota Vikings (2010-13). He’s been around the league as an assistant and coordinator.  Most recently, he’s had success putting together an outstanding Buffalo defense. However, the Bills, who were preseason Super Bowl favorites on several Kansas sports betting apps, came up short of that goal after losing at home to the Bengals last Sunday.

Jerod Mayo, inside linebackers coach with New England.  Mayo, 36, was a player on a Super Bowl-winning Patriots team and was hired as an ILB coach by Bill Belichick in 2019. Mayo is known for his work ethic and now has the glow of being from the Belichick coaching tree.

Ejiro Evero, Denver’s defensive coordinator. Evero has paid his dues as an assistant with the Buccaneers, 49ers, Packers, Rams and, most recently, Broncos. Reportedly, after Denver fired Nathaniel Hackett as head coach near the end of the 2022 season, Evero, 42, was offered the interim job but decided to remain the defensive coordinator.

Aaron Glenn, Detroit defensive coordinator. Glenn, now 50, had a long playing career as a defensive back with five NFL teams, most notably with the Jets.  He has been an assistant coach, scout or coordinator with four NFL franchises.

Vance Joseph, Arizona defensive coordinator. Joseph, 50, had a brief NFL playing career as a defensive back.  His coaching career includes colleges, but mostly he’s been in the NFL.  He was head coach of the Broncos (11-21 in 2017-18) and a defensive coordinator with Miami and, more recently, Arizona. 

Pep Hamilton, Houston offensive coordinator. Hamilton is an offensive-oriented coach. Beginning his coaching career at Howard University as quarterbacks coach and then offensive coordinator, Hamilton has held substantial positions at programs from the XFL (DC Defenders) to major colleges (Stanford, Michigan) to the NFL (Jets, 49ers, Bears, Colts, Browns, Chargers, Texans).  He was with the Chargers when QB Justin Herbert won offensive rookie of the year.

Brian Flores, Pittsburgh’s senior defensive assistant and linebackers coach. Flores was an assistant at New England for 10 years and then head coach for Miami (2019-21).  His time with the Dolphins ended in fireworks. In February, Flores filed a class-action lawsuit against the NFL and a handful of franchises alleging racial discrimination. He also alleged that Miami ownership pressured him to lose games to get a better draft position.

Raheem Morris, Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator. Morris has a deep resume including as head coach at Tampa Bay (2009-11) and interim head coach in Atlanta (2020). His overall head coaching record is 21-38. Morris won Super Bowls, with Tampa Bay and the Rams, as an assistant and coordinator. 

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Bill Ordine, senior journalist and columnist for BetKansas.com, was a reporter and editor in news and sports for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Baltimore Sun for 25 years, and was a lead reporter on a team that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Breaking News.

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