Diversity in leadership positions is one of the NFL’s biggest issues at the moment. In order to improve the current situation and to create better opportunities for women and minorities to advance their careers, the league announced that the inaugural coach and front office accelerator program will take place later this month.
More than 60 head coach and general manager prospects from all clubs and the league office will participate, including two members of the New England Patriots: pro scouting director Steve Cargile and defensive line coach DeMarcus Covington.
Cargile, 39, joined the Patriots as a scouting and coaching assistant in 2011. A former NFL defensive back, he moved to pro scouting the following year and over the next decade climbed up the ranks. He was promoted to his current position atop the department last year.
Covington, 33, turned to coaching in 2012, immediately following his college career at Samford. He arrived in New England in 2017 via UAB, Ole Miss, UT Martin and Eastern Illinois. After two years as a coaching assistant, he was promoted to outside linebackers coach. One year later, he was moved to the defensive line and is now entering his third season working with the position group.
The NFL’s accelerator program will give participants a chance to receive some leadership development and also do some networking with ownership representation. Per the league, the idea behind it is to “continue building a diverse hiring pipeline for future head coach and general manager positions throughout the league.”
The program will take place on May 23-24 during the league’s spring meeting in Atlanta. It will be the NFL’s latest attempt at improving diversity, especially in the light of the Brian Flores lawsuit.
Earlier this year, the former Patriots defensive coordinator sued the NFL and three of its teams — the Miami Dolphins, New York Giants and Denver Broncos — over alleged racist hiring practices. Fellow coaches Steve Wilks and Ray Horton later joined the lawsuit, raising similar allegations against the league as well as the Arizona Cardinals, Houston Texans, and Tennessee Titans.