By Keisha J Kelley
June 15, 2021
The Pioli Family Fund for HBCU Coaches and Scouts, established last fall to help young football coaches and scouts pursue career advancement opportunities, has selected its first two grant recipients.
Receiving the awards are Terry Jefferson, the recruiting coordinator at the University of Miami, and James Bullock III, a scouting apprentice with the Los Angeles Rams.
Scott Pioli, a former college coach and longtime executive in the National Football League, along with his wife, Dallas, and their daughter, Mia, established the endowed fund to create more opportunities for men and women affiliated with Historically Black College and Universities in the game of football. The program continues Scott’s long association with the Black College Football Hall of Fame and the family’s efforts to increase opportunities in the game across race and gender.
Jefferson and Bullock each will receive a $6,000 grant from the Pioli Family Fund. The money can be used for expenses related to their professional development.
“I am so thankful to be recognized by the Pioli Family Fund,” said Jefferson a graduate of Florida A&M University, an HBCU founded in 1887 in Tallahassee. “This fund will also pave the way for me to create other opportunities for young African American coaches in this business who strive to make it to the highest levels of coaching football.”
Bullock, a graduate of Winston-Salem State University, an HBCU founded in 1892 in North Carolina, said the award shows that people and organizations associated with football “are truly putting in the work for the HBCU community and trying to find different ways for our community to succeed within and around the game.”
“Someday, I want to be able to say that I am an NFL scout,” Bullock said, “and I can thank so many people for helping me get to this point – such as the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Pioli Family Fund.”
Applications for the grants were accepted from current coaches and scouts at Historically Black Colleges and Universities or from graduates of HBCUs who are serving as football coaches or scouts and are pursuing career advancement at the collegiate or professional level.
James “Shack” Harris and Doug Williams, co-founders of the Black College Football Hall of Fame and graduates of Grambling State University, expressed their gratitude toward Pioli and his family for making the first awards to Jefferson and Bullock.
“Scott Pioli establishing The Pioli Family Fund is a direct representation of his commitment to push for more opportunities in the workplace for diverse candidates,” Harris said. “We are thankful for his dedication.”
Williams added: “This is a great opportunity for the recipients to advance their coaching careers. Congratulations to Terry and James. We thank Scott Pioli for getting involved and taking action to help provide opportunities for aspiring minority coaches. He has been a longtime champion of the cause.”
Pioli partnered with the Pro Football Hall of Fame to administer the Fund because of the Hall’s close association with the Black College Football Hall of Fame, where he is a member of the Advisory Board. The two organizations announced a partnership in 2016 to collaborate on numerous initiatives and events. They include: an annual BCFHOF Classic football game, which this year will feature Grambling State and Tennessee State on Sept. 5; hosting future BCFHOF induction ceremonies; expanded educational programming and special events year-round at the Hall; and offering internship opportunities to graduates of HBCUs.
A major exhibit for the Black College Football Hall of Fame — honoring the greatest players, coaches and contributors of HBCUs — is located inside the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Plans call for that space to be developed into its own museum. The Black College Football Hall of Fame will add six new members with its Class of 2021 inducted this Saturday in Atlanta.
When the Fund was announced last October, Pioli said it was the family’s hope that it would “serve black coaches and scouts from HBCUs with career aspirations in football” as a tool to help make the game better. Recipients may use the money to reimburse job-related expenses related to advancing their careers in college or professional football, such as housing or travel costs.
“Their joy in receiving this assistance and support is only going to be matched by their incredible desire to make this opportunity happen for others to grow the game of football,” David Baker, President & CEO of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, said of Jefferson and Bullock. “We know they will pave the way for many more to come.”
Courtesy of Pro Football HOF