Breaking news out of the Cleveland Browns football camp – former Secretary of State under President George Bush is being considered for the head coach position on the beleaguered NFL team. Since leaving politics, the first Black female secretary of state has worked in sports, mainly with the NCAA.
ESPN broke the news Sunday, Nov. 18. Browns’ GM John Dorsey told ESPN last week that he was open to hiring a woman as Cleveland’s next head coach, and one prominent name is on the team’s wish list to interview. The Browns would like to interview former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for the job, a league source told ESPN. If the Browns follow through on it, Rice would become the first woman to interview for an NFL head-coaching job. After word of the Browns’ possible interest in Rice got back to the team, Dorsey issued a statement.
“Our coaching search will be thorough and deliberate, but we are still in the process of composing the list of candidates and Secretary Rice has not been discussed,” he claimed. Rice also posted Sunday on Facebook that while she’s “not ready to coach,” she “would like to call a play or two next season if the Browns need ideas.” Rice, 64, is a lifelong Browns fan, a love she developed from watching Cleveland’s games with her father at their home in Birmingham, Alabama. She attends some of their games and was spotted on the field with owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam before Cleveland’s game in Oakland on Sept. 30. Cleveland’s interest in interviewing Rice comes at a time when women recently have moved into decision-making roles in men’s professional sports.
The San Antonio Spurs hired Becky Hammon as an assistant coach, the Buffalo Bills hired Kathryn Smith as a quality control assistant, the Oakland Raiders hired Kelsey Martinez to their strength staff and the San Francisco 49ers hired Katie Sowers as an offensive assistant. A potential interview hardly means the Browns will hire Rice, but they are interested in talking to her about the job and seeing what she could bring to the position and the organization, a source said. “She’s an amazing person,” one Browns source told ESPN. The interview process could even lead to Rice becoming more involved in the organization in an official capacity or as a consultant.
Rice has been featured in a Browns jersey in NFL ads, and there has been speculation that she even could become commissioner of the NFL. Rice has become more involved in sports, specifically on the collegiate level, since serving as secretary of state under President George W. Bush from 2005 to 2009. She was one of the inaugural members of the College Football Playoff selection committee, where she worked from 2013 to 2016. Rice also recently chaired a commission on college basketball that recommended major changes to the sport this year, including an end to the one-and-done rule.