2 defensive assistants represent Cowboys at NFL’s Coach Accelerator program

The Dallas Cowboys are sending two representatives to the NFL’s league meetings to participate in the Coach Accelerator program next week. The program is an attempt by the NFL to increase the diversity of the head coaching ranks. While the league has made strides over several decades in breaking down the barrier Black quarterbacks have run up against, representation in head coaching and top front office jobs still lag woefully behind.

Starting in 2022, the league began using the Spring league meetings as an opportunity to place promising assistants in front of team owners to increase exposure and familiarity. The attempt is to break the cycle of having the same names continuously passed around among league brass.

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The NFL has fallen woefully behind in rewarding capable Black, women and POC candidates over the years. In a league that hires from within their ranks of former players, only three of 32 head coaches identify as Black in Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin, Tampa Bay’s Todd Bowles and Houston’s DeMeco Ryans. Miami coach Mike McDaniel has publicly stated he identifies as a human being. New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh is Lebanese, and that is the extent of the NFL’s minority coaches in a league where the majority of the players are just that.

The Dallas Cowboys are one of 13 NFL teams who have never had a Black head coach, 40%. They’ve only had one Black offensive coordinator in Maurice Carthon who coached under Bill Parcells. Brian Stewart is the only Black defensive coordinator in team history. The club has never had a Black general manager either, though that role will seemingly never leave the Jones’ families clutches.

Will McClay is part of the team management picture with a huge role as the director of personnel, but his job does not include the financial component that is under the purview of the general manager.

The Accelerator program also has a front-office component but that list has not been made public as of yet. 40 participants were invited to this year’s coaches program.


Defensive line coach Aden Durde

(AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)

The man who gets the fancy calligraphy captions in the club’s Sounds from the Game video series is a series contender to be promoted to defensive coordinator soon and potentially a head coach one day. Consistently listed as a future HC candidate, Durde runs the DL show for one of the greatest defensive line masterminds the game has seen in the last few decades Dan Quinn.

Durde, from England, was a coaching intern with the Cowboys in the mid-2010s before moving on to Atlanta where he worked under Quinn starting in 2018.

Joe Whitt, Jr.

(AP Photo)

Whitt is not only a disciple of Quinn but also spent time on Mike McCarthy’s staffs in Green Bay. A candidate for the defensive coordinator job that eventually went to Quinn, Whitt has continued to impress with his work the last several years in developing Trevon Diggs into an All-Pro, the breakout rookie season of DaRon Bland and the career accelaration of Jayron Kearse.


The defensive passing game coordinator has 17 years of NFL experience and is anticipated by many to be the heir apparent should Quinn ever take one of the numerous head coaching offers he interviews for annually.

Whitt, Jr. was a part of last year’s program as well.

Story originally appeared on Cowboys Wire