The Las Vegas Raiders make history as the first NFL team with an all-black leadership team

BY Preta Peace Namasaba November 11, 2023 4:20 PM EDT
Antonio Pierce, Sandra Douglass Morgan, and Champ Kelly. Photo credit: Las Vegas Raiders

The Las Vegas Raiders have become the first team in the NFL to boast an all-black leadership team. The team has a Black president, Sandra Douglass Morgan; a Black coach, Antonio Pierce; and a Black general manager, Champ Kelly.

The Raiders reached this tremendous feat following the promotion of Pierce to interim head coach. He previously served as the team’s linebackers coach. Pierce had spent five seasons coaching at Arizona State before joining the Raiders. Although he has no experience as head coach, Pierce has been hailed for his outstanding leadership.

“I’m a former player; I touch football players. I can relate to them. I’ve done the same things they’ve done. I’ve walked the same paths they walked. I felt the same pain they felt. So, there’s nothing or any emotional ride or rollercoaster they’ve gone through this year or the two years I’ve been with them, that I haven’t felt. My personality will come out and reflect on this team.”

Antonio Pierce in NFL

Pierce went from being an undrafted rookie free agent to being a starter for the New York Giants. He was part of the team that defeated the previously undefeated New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. In his match as coach, Pierce led the team to a win against his former playing team.

Kelly also recently took over as the Raiders general manager. He joined the team as assistant general manager last year. Kelly previously worked for the Chicago Bears as director of pro scouting. He played for the University of Kentucky and has a bachelor’s degree in computer science and an MBA. He once worked in software for IBM.

“Make no mistake, I’m prepared for this position. I know people all over the country are praying for me in this moment. I received so much support from colleagues, GMs across the league, former players, coaches, advisers, family, and friends.”

Champ Kelly in Sports Illustrated

The team’s president Sandra Douglass Morgan completes the leadership trio. She took over the position in 2022 and is the first Black woman president of an NFL team. Morgan is the first African-American City Attorney in Nevada and the first African-American Chairperson of the Nevada Gaming Control Board.