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Titans Open Doors Once Again for Diversity Coaching Summit


NASHVILLE – High school coaches from across the state converged on Ascension Saint Thomas Sports Park on Thursday to see how the pros do it.

For the second straight year, the Titans opened their doors for the Diversity Coaching Summit, in partnership with the Minority Coaches Association of Tennessee.

It gave coaches a behind-the-scenes look at life in the NFL.

"Our kids have big dreams, and they have dreams of being NFL players," said Rodney Saulsberry, head coach at Whitehaven High School in Memphis. "Coaches getting exposure to see how NFL players and coaches work, we can help our kids understand a dream without work is just a wish."

Saulsberry, co-founder of Minority Coaches Association of Tennessee, kept a close eye on running back Tony Pollard and defensive lineman Quinton Bohanna, two Titans who played prep football in Memphis.

During Thursday's OTA, coaches picked different viewing points all over the fields at the team's training facility.

Some watched veteran coach Bill Callahan coach the offensive linemen, while others watched receivers DeAndre Hopkins, Calvin Ridley and Tyler Boyd do their thing. Others scattered on a side field, watching the defense.

Many, of course, watched the quarterbacks.

Roughly 35 coaches from all over the state, from Memphis to Knoxville and those right here in Nashville, were on hand, from head coaches to position coaches.

The head coaches at Centennial High, Pearl-Cohn, Ezell-Harding, East Nashville and Stratford took part.

"We're all learning, that's the main thing, getting the nuggets to bring back to your school," said Dwight Hundley, fellow co-founder of MCAT who coached last year at Clinton High. "A lot of our coaches are young guys, aspiring to be head coaches or position coaches at the next level.

"But every year we come, we learn something new, something we didn't know about, and it gives an opportunity for us to grow. The main thing is we just have to make sure we keep bridging the gap between the NFL and the high school coaches so they can work together."

Josh Corey, Senior Director, Cause Marketing for the Titans, worked to keep the program alive when Brian Callahan replaced Mike Vrabel as head coach during the offseason. From the beginning, Callahan was all in.


During a jam-packed day on Thursday, the coaches heard from A.J. Highsmith, the team's new director of scouting at the start.

Chic Ejiasi of the team's Player Engagement staff then spoke to the coaches, as did Zac Woodfin, the team's director of sports performance.

Brian Callahan, offensive coordinator Nick Holz, and linebackers coach Frank Bush led sessions, and a representative from the NCAA was on hand to talk about eligibility for student athletes.

All the coaches watched the entire practice on Thursday.

Former Oilers/Titans receiver Chris Sanders, who has worked in counseling at Montgomery Bell Academy for 19 years, was on hand for the second year in a row.

"I get a lot out of it," Sanders said. "You get to learn from coaches, from the NCAA, but also you get to learn how the pros do it, and then take it back to your school. … You get a lot of nuggets to take what the pros are doing, and take it to your program, which I think is a great deal."

Corey, who previously served as the team's Football Outreach Coordinator for the Titans, said both sides benefit from the relationship building.

Corey joined the Titans in 2014, and he's been recognized by the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association's for a Distinguished Service Award.

"I think the most important thing is I want (the coaches) to know that the Titans support what they do, and what they do is very important to our organization," Corey said. "And we want to offer them an opportunity for professional development. Hopefully they can pick up a drill or hear something in one of these talks that they can take back to their school that will help them with their programs.

"We also want to develop relationships, and make connections with the coaches in our state, and we think this event is perfectly designed to do all three of those things."


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