Kansas City Chiefs defensive backs coach Dave Merritt will be among the participants in the NFL’s “Coach Accelerator” program, which will take place during the league’s spring meetings. Those begin on Sunday in Minneapolis.
This is essentially a networking opportunity for NFL coaches, allowing them increased exposure to the league’s owners and executives. The goal is to increase the probability that these minority candidates will eventually be hired as head coaches.
Former Kansas City offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy participated in the inaugural edition of this event a year ago. While he wasn’t hired as a head coach after the team’s Super Bowl victory in February, he was named the offensive coordinator for the Washington Commanders.
Merritt, 51, is beginning his fifth season with the Chiefs. He’s been an NFL assistant coach since 2003. Before joining Andy Reid’s staff, he served as a defensive coach for the New York Jets, New York Giants and Arizona Cardinals. A seventh-round pick of the Miami Dolphins out of North Carolina State in 1993, Merrit spent three seasons as an NFL linebacker, finishing his playing career with the Cardinals in 1995.
A year ago, teams nominated assistant coaches from their own organizations to take part in the event. In 2023, clubs have been allowed to nominate individuals from outside their own staffs.
“In the year since its inception, we’ve been encouraged by the positive response to the Accelerator from both club owners and participants,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, per NFL.com. “We look forward to continuing to build on an incredible program that supports diverse talent.”
40 coaches — all of them considered to be candidates for future head coaching positions — will take part in the event. 16 of them were program participants in 2022.