Although 70% of players in today’s NFL are Black, the number of league head coaches who are Black grew in the 2020-2021 season by one to three. That was despite the fact there were multiple vacancies, a pool filled with qualified Black candidates, and an alleged push to address this strange discrepancy. As such, the Pioli Family Fund for HBCU Coaches and Scouts, created last year to help young coaches with their career development, officially named its first two awardees in University of Miami recruiting coordinator Terry Jefferson and the Los Angeles Rams’ scouting apprentice James Bullock III.
David Baker, president & CEO of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, spoke about the importance of the fund to Bullock and Jefferson as well as for other minority hopefuls with an eye on moving up the football coaching ranks. “Their joy in receiving this assistance and support is only going to be matched by their incredible desire to make this opportunity happen for others to grow the game of football,” he said. “We know they will pave the way for many more to come.”
Jefferson, a graduate of Florida A&M University, said, “I am so thankful to be recognized by the Pioli Family Fund.” Founded in 1887, Jefferson’s alma mater is the same HBCU that produced the likes of Ken Riley and Robert “Bullet Bob” Hayes. “This fund will also pave the way for me to create other opportunities for young African American coaches in this business who strive to make it to the highest levels of coaching football,” he continued.
To be eligible for the fund, candidates of any gender have to currently be a football coach or scout at one of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities. They can also have graduated from an HBCU and are now in a coaching/scouting capacity. Awards can range from $2,000 to $10,000, and they may be put towards expenses associated with the recipients’ pursuit of career advancement, such as class tuition, room and board, and related travel costs.
A graduate of Winston-Salem State University, James Bullock III, acknowledges there are organizations that “are truly putting in the work for the HBCU community and trying to find different ways for our community to succeed within and around the game… and I can thank so many people for helping me get to this point – such as the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Pioli Family Fund.”
If you would like to learn more about the Pioli Family Fund for HBCU Coaches and Scouts and possibly apply, visit profootballhof.com/pioli-family-fund/ for more information.