Bill Russell, the 11-time NBA champion with the Boston Celtics, has endorsed a measure that will make the West Coast Conference the first Division I league to require all schools to include a minority finalist for job openings in athletics, the league announced Monday.

Backed by Gloria Nevarez, the first Latinx Division I commissioner, and unanimously approved by the league's 10 presidents, "The Russell Rule" is the hallmark of the conference's equity, diversity and inclusion platform. According to the new rule, finalists for any opening for an athletic director, senior administrator, head coach or full-time assistant coach within the league must include a member of a "traditionally underrepresented community."

"It is my hope the West Coast Conference initiative will encourage other leagues and schools to make similar commitments," said Russell, who led WCC member San Francisco to a pair of national titles in 1955 and 1956, in the league's release. "We need to be intentional if we're going to make real change for people of color in leadership positions in college athletics. I'm proud to assist the WCC and Commissioner Nevarez by endorsing this most important initiative."