One of coach Lovie Smith's solutions for getting more minority coaches in the NFL was to give them opportunities as assistants on coaching staffs across all 32 teams.
Smith was putting his philosophy into practice with the promotion of Houston Texans quarterbacks coach and passing game coordinator Pep Hamilton to the role of offensive coordinator. It was about an opportunity, much like he had as a linebackers coach with Tony Dungy and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1996-2000.
"I had a chance to work on my first staff in the National Football League was on Tony Dungy's staff, a Black man that gave me an opportunity," Smith told reporters on Feb. 8. "From talking to him back then, it was about - and it's just not the coordinators. I think we have a responsibility, and for me being a Black man, to give as many guys - back then, it was about an opportunity. I think it's important to give Black coaches as possible an opportunity to work up through the ranks."
The NFL is helping out coaches such as Smith who provide minority assistants a chance with the inaugural Coach and Front Office Accelerator on May 23-24 to take place at the league's spring meetings in Atlanta.
"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," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. "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."
Hamilton is one of the two candidates the Texans are submitting. The other is national scout Mozique McCurtis. Both candidates will have an opportunity to give NFL teams a name and a face to consider for future coach and general manager openings in the future.