Jim Caldwell got the chance to serve as an NFL head coach for seven seasons, and now he's trying to do his part so that other minorities get the same opportunities.
Caldwell, who joined the Dolphins as assistant head coach/quarterbacks coach this offseason, was in Atlanta early this week taking part in the 2019 Quarterback Coaching Summit.
"This was worthwhile, coming down here to Atlanta to have an opportunity to meet so many quality young men that are in our profession that certainly have a strong interest in joining the National Football League," Caldwell said during an interview on SiriusXM. "It was an impressive group of young men. It was absolutely impressive. So anybody that says that they don't know of anyone to search out in order to interview, if you have an opportunity to see the participants in this particular group, I think there'll be a lot of people that sort of changed their mind about that."
The Quarterback Coaching Summit began last year as the brain child of former NFL quarterbacks James Harris and Doug Williams. Caldwell participated last year as well while he was away from coaching for the first time in four decades.
Caldwell said the NFL showed more support for the summit this year, and one sign was the presence of executive president of football operations Troy Vincent, the Dolphins first-round pick in the 1992 draft.
"This year, they had an interest in making certain that they were going to help this particular mission, creating a pathway for more men of color, minorities to have opportunities — quarterback (coach), the offensive positions, offensive coordinator, things of that nature — so they put some support behind it," Caldwell said. "Troy Vincent and his Football Ops staff did a tremendous job and we really had a great turnout. The idea is to make certain that we're providing information, giving these guys opportunities to talk with general managers. We also had an opportunity to demonstrate for them guys that are coaching quarterbacks in the league, QCs, have been offensive coordinators, things of that nature, and just try to supply them with as much information as we possibly can."
Among the other participants in the summit were Dolphins General Manager Chris Grier and Wide Receivers Coach Karl Dorrell.
Former NFL head coaches Marvin Lewis and Hue Jackson were among those providing insight for the participants. Grier was part of a panel of current and former GMs that included Ozzie Newsome, Rick Spielman and Jerry Reese.
During his year away from the NFL last year, Caldwell mentored some minority coaches who aspired to become head coaches. He was impressed with those he came across, just as he was with the coaching hopefuls he met this week.
"If anybody is looking for maybe a quality control or looking for assistant quarterback coach or a quarterback coach or an offensive coordinator, they can find it quickly," he said. "There were about 50 participants and it was outstanding."