Every summer, NFL teams welcome a handful of coaches as part of the Bill Walsh Coaching Fellowship. The idea behind the program is to give coaches a chance to get their foot in the door as a first step toward full-time employment in the league.
The Chicago Bears did well in hiring and promoting from the program during the Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy eras. And hopefully, the Ryan Poles and Matt Eberflus regime will keep the ball rolling. The team announced the six college coaches who are this year’s participants in Chicago:
- Dominic Anderson, Fayetteville State (Defensive Coordinator/Linebackers Coach)
- Na’Shan Goddard, South Carolina State (Offensive Line Coach)
- Kefense Hynson, Oregon State (Passing Game Coordinator)
- Ken Merchant, Pace University (Quarterbacks Coach)
- Milton Patterson, Florida A&M (Defensive Line Coach)
- Roosevelt Williams, Hardin-Simmons (Defensive Backs Coach)
One name that might stand out in that group is Roosevelt Williams, who was a Bears third-round pick (72nd overall) in 2002. Williams, who was a Division II All-American as a collegiate player at Tuskegee, played in 13 games as a rookie in Chicago before moving on to Cleveland the following year. He also spent time with the Broncos and Jets, but his time in the NFL was short. Now, the 44-year-old is trying his hand in the coaching game.
The Bears have done right by the Walsh Diversity Fellowship in recent years. Earlier in the offseason, Ashton Washington — who was part of last year’s class — earned a promotion to Player Personnel Coordinator. And in previous years under Matt Nagy, we saw Henry Burris and Ronnell Williams (who remains with the team on Eberflus’ staff) start their NFL coaching careers in Chicago after participating in the program. It would be nice to see that trend continue with Eberflus calling the shots. Not just for the sake of staff continuity, but also to be at the forefront of progressive hires. This is a charter NFL franchise and it should set the standard when it comes to representation, inclusion, diversity, and things of that sort when it comes to league hiring practices.