With the annual hiring cycle looming, the Fritz Pollard Alliance has published an annual list of candidates for consideration by NFL teams compelled, due to a history of not giving fair consideration to minority candidates, to interview at least one minority candidate for every head-coaching vacancy.
Via Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin (pictured) has a spot on the nine-person list.
“We’d be very disappointed if he doesn’t [get an interview],” Fritz Pollard Alliance chairman John Wooten told Birkett. “That’s something that we look very hard at, who’s getting the interviews.”
Other candidates on the list include Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, Buccaneers defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, Titans defensive coordinator Ray Horton, Colts offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, Packers assistant head coach Winston Moss, and former 49ers coach Mike Singletary.
A recent report from NFL Media pegged Singletary, who currently is out of football, as a potential candidate for NFL head-coaching jobs. Which in light of Singletary’s experience with the 49ers and the fact that he’s currently out of football seems to be a very major stretch, to say the least. Others on the list whose candidacies for head-coaching jobs would be hard to justify in the current hiring cycle are Fewell, Frazier, Horton, and Moss.
But Austin, Bowles, Hamilton, and Jackson merit serious consideration, based currently on merit. As Bowles said earlier this season on PFT Live, when your team is doing well, you’re a good coach. When it’s not doing well, you’re a bad coach. For the folks who hire football coaches — and who in turn must defend those decisions to a fan base of paying customers — recent success becomes critical to the perception that the coach can get the job done.
While many dispute the fairness or effectiveness of the Rooney Rule, it serves an important function by forcing teams to conduct a genuine search. Far too often, owners enter the hiring process knowing who they want to hire. Tapping the brakes becomes conducive to a more inclusive process that can lead to multiple other viable candidates, regardless of race or ethnicity.