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Monday, January 31, 2011
Minorities and the Titans' coach and staff

By Paul Kuharsky

When Ray Sherman left the Tennessee Titans staff, he was viewed as a coach with a bit of wanderlust: He always thought the next job he got would be better, and might position him for the big step to a head coaching job.

Sherman was on Jeff Fisher’s staff in 2005 and 2006, hardly a monumental time for receivers with the team. He was on the Oilers' staff in 1988 and 1989 as well. So Bud Adams knows him from two stints.

Now he’s a candidate for the Titans' head coaching vacancy (somehow Adam Schefter tweeted that Chris Mortensen is reporting it).

Sherman interviewed with the Cowboys, fulfilling their requirement under the Rooney Rule to discuss a head coaching vacancy with at least one minority. Skeptics will say he’s a token interview in Nashville, particularly if Mike Munchak is hired quickly as Fisher’s replacement. Munchak interviewed Monday.

John Wooten is chairman of the Fritz Pollard Alliance, an organization that works with the NFL promoting diversity among front office executives, coaches and scouts.

He said he spoke with Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt Monday to let him know of the group's “ready list.” Sherman is one of seven remaining minorities the group promotes as ready to be head coaches. Three others from the earlier version of the list – Leslie Frazier, Ron Rivera and Hue Jackson – have attained head coaching jobs.

Wooten said he’d love to see Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell and Packers assistant head coach/inside linebackers coach Winston Moss get a look from the Titans. Moss cannot interview until after the Packers play in Super Bowl XLV Sunday.

I know Jim Wyatt’s conversation with Bud Adams that I cited in this morning’s RTC entry indicated the owner sees things happening quickly. Maybe they will.

But general manager Mike Reinfeldt and senior executive vice president and general counsel Steve Underwood are sorting out the pool and doing the interviewing.

They are deliberate guys who emphasized Friday that they would take as long as they need to. That makes me think we learn the new coach later rather than sooner.

Of course, this franchise has not been in this position for some time, its lead by an eccentric owner and anything can happen.

As for minority presence: of the four assistants that are gone from Fisher’s 2010 staff, running backs coach Craig Johnson and receivers coach Fred Graves, are African American.

Now only two of the 14 assistants who are under contract to the team are minorities -- secondary coach Marcus Robertson and defensive assistant/quality control coach Rayna Stewart.

Whoever the new head coach is, he will have to consider diversity as he pieces together his staff.