2022 BILL WALSH DIVERSITY COACHING FELLOWSHIP AND NUNN-WOOTEN SCOUTING FELLOWSHIP ENHANCE NFL’S LEGACY
The National Football League (NFL) successfully completed this year’s Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching and Nunn-Wooten Scouting Fellowships to continue their efforts to strengthen the League’s diverse talent. The Bill Walsh Diversity Fellowship had 171 fellows go through the initiative this year while the Nunn-Wooten Scouting Fellowship had 28 fellows.
Named after the late Pro Football Hall of Fame head coach, the annual Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship provides experience to outstanding coaches from diverse backgrounds. Coach Walsh first introduced this concept to the League in 1987 when he brought a group of minority coaches to San Francisco 49ers’ training camp. Present day, the fellowship is designed as a vocational tool to increase the number of full-time NFL minority coaches within the League while exposing fellows to the methods and philosophies of NFL coaching staff.
Conversely, the Nunn-Wooten Scouting Fellowship provides NFL players, former football players, and college recruiting and personnel staff, an on-site look at an NFL front office and insight on the skills needed for a career in professional scouting. Established in 2015, the Nunn-Wooten Scouting Fellowship is named after longtime NFL executives Bill Nunn and John Wooten who were champions in establishing a strong legacy.
While both programs gave fellows in-person training within their respective clubs, virtual programming was offered by Football Operations over the summer to provide an opportunity for Fellows to further their skillset, enhance their knowledge of the game, and to engage with colleagues and mentors.
2022 Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship Virtual Speakers:
- Clint McMillan, Tennessee Titans (former 2021 Bill Walsh Fellow)
- Dan Williams, Kansas City Chiefs
- Aditya Krishnan, Los Angeles Chargers
2022 Nunn-Wooten Scouting Fellowship Virtual Speakers:
- Ameena Soliman, Philadelphia Eagles
- Camren Williams, New England Patriots
New this year in conjunction with the Nunn-Wooten fellowship, the Minnesota Vikings launched the Gilliam-Reichow Personnel Fellowship; a comprehensive program creating opportunities for hands-on education for aspiring personnel and scouting executives. The fellowship’s namesakes are Frank Gilliam, former Vikings Vice President of Player Personnel, and one of the NFL’s first black scouts and Jerry Reichow, former Minnesota Vikings and Pro Bowl receiver, who later transitioned into a role within the team’s front office, working with the club over five decades. Fellows in this particular program learned about player evaluation, scouting, film study and data analysis.
“It’s been a great honor for our team to launch the Gilliam-Reichow Personnel Fellowship to work in conjunction with the impactful Nunn-Wooten Fellowship. Frank Gilliam and Jerry Reichow are two of the Vikings’ biggest history makers – Gilliam as one of the NFL’s first Black scouts and Reichow as a Pro Bowl receiver who successfully transitioned to the front office,” said KWESI ADOFO-MENSAH, Minnesota Vikings General Manager. “This initiative is a great collaboration between our Legends, DEI (Diversity, Equity and Inclusion) and personnel groups. It is vital to advocate for programs that can create opportunities and hands-on education for our Legends and diverse candidates who may not otherwise receive that chance.”
Both the Bill Walsh and Nunn-Wooten Fellowship have provided pertinent experience during the program’s tenure and a path to success for the fellows once completed. Upon completion of the 2021 Bill Walsh Fellowship, KJ Black was selected to coach in the 2022 East-West Shrine Bowl. Black recently joined the Los Angeles Rams as a full-time coach working with the quarterbacks for the 2022 season. Other 2021 fellows who coached in the Bowl Game included Na’Shan Goddard, Trumaine Watson and Rashad Watson. Additionally, Clinton McMillan, a 2021 fellow with the Tennessee Titans, gained a full-time position this year as a Defensive Assistant with the team.
“The Bill Walsh Coaching and Nunn-Wooten Fellowship programs serve as a meaningful opportunity to diversify our scouting and coaching staffs. We currently have three people on our staff, coaches KJ Black and Jonathan Cooley, and scout Cedric Jones, who came to our team through this program,” said JACQUES MCCLENDON, Los Angeles Rams Director of Football Affairs. “General Manager Les Snead and Head Coach McVay both take great pride in providing our fellows the opportunity to get an immersive experience that exposes them to our staff and processes, while also exposing us to their talents as well. These initiatives are an essential recruiting tool in ensuring we are continuing to acquire diverse, talented individuals that fit our culture and make us a better organization.”
Among the 2022 Nunn-Wooten Fellows, there were a total of five female participants: a record-high for the program’s history.
For more information on the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship and the Nunn-Wooten Scouting Fellowship, visit operations.nfl.com