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Bill Walsh Still Major Influence In NFL With Minority Coaching Fellowship

On Monday, the NFL announced that 96 minority coaches were part of this summer's NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship. The program was started by former 49ers head coach Bill Walsh.

Walsh started the program in 1987 in hopes to help minority college coaches gain exposure to the NFL training camp environment and potentially find permanent jobs in the league. The 49ers welcomed the first group of minority coaches in the internship's inception and since then has grown into a successful program in the league.

Current head coaches Marvin Lewis of Cincinnati, Mike Tomlin of Pittsburgh, Lovie Smith of Chicago and Raheem Morris of Tampa Bay came through the internship program.

Some notable former NFL players currently in the program are Terrell Davis, Sam Madison, Steve Atwater, Derrick Brooks, Chris Samuels and former 49ers Rod Woodson and Isaac Bruce.

Even though this program has been around a while and it's not really something new, 96 people is very impressive. I guess it resonates to me a little just because I too am what is considered a minority and I know how it is sometimes to get into a certain field knowing that skin color might have some kind of affect on perception.

Walsh had always been a couple steps ahead of the rest of the league since joining the NFL. His ability to advance the West Coast offense to the national scene and his uncanny skill of finding great talents in the draft has made him a legend. But his eye for seeing the potential in minority coaches makes him a hero.