This short report provides a preliminary overview and analysis of data on coaching mobility patterns in the National Football League (NFL). Previous studies in this area have generally focused on the effectiveness of the Rooney Rule (for example, analyzing the hiring process and proposing new strategies to increase the number of non-White head coaches) and comparing the win/loss records of White and non-White head coaches (for example, determining whether non-White coaches are provided with a meaningful opportunity to turn around a team with a losing record). This report analyzes data provided by the NFL and focuses on whether Whites and non-Whites face systemic and socio-cultural access barriers after one or more stints as a head coach in the NFL. Stated differently, this report attempts to address whether Whites and/or non-Whites only have one opportunity to prove themselves, and therefore attention must focus on retention, career progression, continued access and “life after being a head coach” in addition to the Rooney’s Rule noteworthy focus on initial entry/access for ethnic minorities. The authors of this short report hope that this report serves as a case study and platform for other scholars and practitioners to develop practical recommendations, policies, and processes to address the broader sociological issue relating to how intangible factors such as trust, implicit biases, informal networks, and perceived (in)competence impact occupational mobility.

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