The Commanders are doing their part to help the advancement of minority coaches in the NFL.
Washington announced on Wednesday the creation of the Doug Williams Diversity Coaching Fellowship, a program that will allow the Commanders access to some of the top coaches from HBCUs while offering such candidates the opportunity to work closely with an NFL staff and hopefully advance their respective careers.
The move comes as part of the NFL's initiative to encourage teams to hire minority coaches, requiring each team to have at least one minority coach on its offensive staff. In Ron Rivera, Washington is just one of five clubs in the NFL to have a minority head coach.
"I have always said that fostering opportunities for young coaches of color is what we need to do in order to correct the issues we have been seeing with the hiring cycles in the league,” Rivera said in a statement.
“We are excited to announce the Doug Williams Diversity Coaching Fellowship which will help us continue to grow as an organization and help foster young coaching talent to set them up for success in their careers. There is no better man to honor with the naming of this fellowship than the great Doug Williams who is a trailblazer in the NFL and has represented this organization with class for many years.”
In Washington, the selected fellow will serve as an offensive assistant, with primary roles of working with Rivera, offensive coordinator Scott Turner and quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese. Responsibilities will include breaking down film, game-planning and working with the scout team, according to the team.
The fellowship program is named after former Washington QB Doug Williams, who currently serves as the senior advisor to team president Jason Wright. He previously serves as the SVP of player development and SVP of player personnel.
As a player, Williams spent four years with the franchise and became the first Black quarterback to start and win a Super Bowl, earning game MVP honors in Washington's 42-10 victory over Denver in Super Bowl XXII.
“I am very humbled and honored that the Commanders are creating this Diversity Fellowship coaching program in my name,” Williams said in a statement. “[Thirty six years ago this organization gave me the opportunity of a lifetime. Now they are giving a young man or women the same opportunity to develop their skills to propel them into sustained success at the NFL level. I want to thank Dan and Tanya Snyder, Ron Rivera and Jason Wright and look forward to helping in the interview process. I want the young applicants to understand what a great opportunity this is and to take full advantage of it.”