Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell is one of two minority play-callers in the NFL, in a year when none of the available head coaching jobs went to minority candidates.
He’s among the many who think the process needs to change, but admitted Wednesday that while many assistants think the Rooney Rule provides only a de facto chance, that the interviews they’re getting aren’t always taken seriously.
“In the past, there have certainly been guys who are concerned about that,” Caldwell said. “There aren’t many guys who are going to turn those opportunities down, because sometimes you never know. You never know what the Lord has planned for you, sometimes it will open the eyes of an individual to give you that opportunity.
“So I do think without question guys are more apt to take interviews even though they may have some questions whether or not they’ve been interviewed in earnest.”
Caldwell said he thought there were many offensive assistants who were qualified to call plays in the NFL, but that changes needed to be made to restock the pipeline, including the discussed expansion to the Rooney Rule that would require teams to interview minority candidates for coordinator jobs.
But he harkened back to his first head coaching job at Wake Forest as evidence that change is slow.
“I was the first African American head football coach in the Atlantic Coast Conference in 1993,” Caldwell said. “Not 1956, not 1957, but 1993, and that wasn’t that long ago.
I’ve been coaching a long time, and certain things pop up periodically. So here’s an instance where we’ve come full circle again, and something needs to be done, needs to be talked about and needs to be implemented.”
His recent success only helps his own chances, and the chances of those who hope to follow him. But institutional changes need to be made to create more of a supply, if minority coaches are to be able to create a demand.