Last week, the general manager for the Cleveland Browns said he’d be willing to interview and hire a woman as the Browns’ next head coach. And John Dorsey may have been interested in one candidate, according to ESPN: Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State. If the interview were to actually happen, Rice would become the first woman to be interviewed for a head coaching position in the NFL.
After word got around that Dorsey was considering Rice, he was quick to throw water on the flame. He released a statement that said:
“I have the utmost respect and admiration for all she’s accomplished and was honored to meet her for the first time earlier this season. Our coaching search will be thorough and deliberate, but we are still in the process of composing the list of candidates and Secretary Rice has not been discussed.”
Rice previously served as one of the original members of the College Football Playoff selection committee from 2013 to 2016. She’s a lifelong fan of the Browns, and according to Dorsey’s statement, “a great leader, possessing the highest possible character.”
Rice took to Facebook on Sunday, saying that she’s “not ready to coach, but would like to call a play or two next season.”
Women are on the rise in front offices across the NFL. The Buffalo Bills hired Kathryn Smith as a quality control assistant, the Oakland Raiders hired Kelsey Martinez and the San Francisco 49ers took Katie Sowers as an offensive assistant. Let’s not forget Jen Welter, who broke the gender barrier when she joined the Arizona Cardinals for training camp back in 2015.
Rice said it herself: “It is time to develop a pool of experienced women coaches.” But where do they start?
Truth be told, though she may be an accomplished woman and a lifelong Browns fan, Rice is hardly, if at all, qualified for the position. While it’s admirable of Dorsey to openly consider hiring a woman for the position, he should dig deep for the right one.
If a general manager in the NFL really wanted to consider a female coach, they should connect with the likes of Smith, Martinez, Sowers and Welter—women with experience who are already involved in the league. From there, he can uncover a list of promising, capable women with coaching experience. The network exists, if NFL general managers are willing to seek it out.