Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy and Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich are among more than 60 diverse head coach and general manager candidates slated to attend the inaugural Coach and Front Office Accelerator program next week at the NFL spring meetings in Atlanta.
Each NFL team nominated at least one candidate to attend the two-day program, which is scheduled to take place on Monday and Tuesday to coincide with the NFL's meetings.
The main goal of the program is to get minority candidates for head coach and GM openings face time with the league's highest-ranking decision-makers. The idea grew out of feedback the league's diversity committee received at the NFL scouting combine in March from candidates -- some who were successful and some who were not -- from the most recent coach/GM hiring cycle. Some of those candidates told the committee that one of the things that bothered them about the process was that the first time they ever met a team owner was when they went in to interview for the job.
"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," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "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 on a working level from team owners and executives."
During the NFL's meetings in March, which were held in Palm Beach, Florida, the league announced that all 32 NFL teams will hire a minority offensive assistant coach for the 2022 season, part of a series of policy enhancements announced by the league to address its ongoing diversity efforts.