Sixty-eight NFL assistant coaches and front office executives will take part in the annual NFL Career Development Symposium March 19-21 in Arizona, it was announced Wednesday.
The three-day program will engage aspiring head coach and general manager candidates through presentations, panel discussions, breakout sessions and networking opportunities with owners, club presidents, coaches, general managers and league executives.
Five current head coaches attended the previous two symposiums as assistant coaches.
Among the speakers and presenters are Cardinals president Michael Bidwill; Giants president and CEO John Mara; Vikings general manager Rick Spielman; Chargers general manager Tom Telesco; Browns coach Mike Pettine; Vikings coach Mike Zimmer; former coach Bill Cowher; and former general ganagers and members of the NFL's Career Development Advisory Panel Charley Casserly, Bill Polian and Ron Wolf.
Program sessions include: "Expectations of Ownership," "Building a Winning Culture," "Club Business," "Interviewing Techniques," "Managing Relationships," and two breakout panels – one for aspiring head coaches and one for aspiring general managers.
The program is directed by NFL Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Robert Gulliver and NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent.
"The Career Development Symposium is one in a series of programs we offer to develop talent throughout the NFL," said Gulliver. "We have pulled together the next generation of head coaches and general managers who will benefit from the insights of owners, current and former head coaches and general managers as they look to take that next step in their careers."
"The NFL constantly strives to make the best better," said Vincent. "We have assembled the most talented individuals available to our game. Our job is to educate in order to mesh that talent with potential, bringing forward the future of our game."
Career Development Symposium participants are selected by the NFL office after NFL clubs submit nominations from their staffs.
The Career Development Symposium previously ran from 1998-2008 and returned in 2013. Attendees of the 2013 Symposium included new hires for the 2014 season such as coaches Jay Gruden (Washington), Pettine (Cleveland), Zimmer (Minnesota) as well as general managers Ray Farmer (Cleveland), Dennis Hickey (Miami), Jason Licht (Tampa Bay) and Doug Whaley (Buffalo). Attendees of last year's Symposium included new coaches this season Todd Bowles (New York Jets) and Jim Tomsula (San Francisco).
The NFL Career Development Symposium supplements other initiatives that include:
- Bill Walsh NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship (April-June 2015; July-August 2015), which provides opportunities at all 32 NFL clubs for minority coaches to observe, participate and gain coaching experience.
- Nunn-Wooten Scouting Fellowship (May-August 2015), which provides former players the opportunity to learn gain the fundamentals of scouting at the NFL level.
- NFL-NCAA Coaches Academy (February 2015), which offered 58 coaches/coaching prospects – including 28 current and former NFL players – with tools and networking opportunities for potential careers as football coaches.
- NFL Video Interview Program (February 2015), for those who have been identified as potential head coaches or general managers. The program gives clubs the ability to view an informational interview conducted by an executive search firm.
- NFL-NCAA Champion Forum (June 2015) for those who have been identified as potential head coaches by college administrators, this program simulates the intercollegiate interview process from researching the position to their first staff meeting after becoming a head coach.
-- NFL Communications