Raheem Morris: What To Know About The First Black Head Coach In Atlanta Falcons History
The Atlanta Falcons have made history with the hiring of Raheem Morris, making him the first Black head coach in franchise history. Morris achieved the historic feat after competing against 13 other candidates. The pool of candidates included legendary coach Bill Belichick, who parted with the New England Patriots earlier this month. Former Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel was also considered for the job.
“I am overjoyed for the opportunity for my family and I to return to Atlanta as the Falcons head coach,” Morris said in a statement according to ESPN. “We know from firsthand experience what a first-class organization Atlanta is and what this team means to its city and its fans. I am incredibly appreciative of Arthur Blank for his leadership and for this entire organization for putting its trust in me to help lead this team.”
Morris, one of four coaches who got a second interview with the Falcons, earned the role with a strong resume. The New Jersey native served as the Falcons interim coach for 11 games in the 2020 season. After the Falcons declined to give Morris a permanent heading coaching job at that time, he went on to work as defensive coordinator for the Los Angeles Rams, ESPN reported. That’s where Morris earned a Super Bowl title in 2021.
The 47-year-old had his first job as a full-time NFL head coach with Tampa Bay, leading the franchise from 2009-11. Morris then served as Washington’s defensive back coach from 2012-14. The veteran coach earned his first role with the Falcons when he worked as defensive pass game coordinator in 2015.
Morris played football at Hofstra University in Long Island, New York. That’s also where he worked as a graduate assistant to begin his coaching career. In 1999, Morris worked as a defensive backs coach at Cornell. He later returned to Hofstra and served as the defensive backs coach from 2000-01. Morris earned his first coaching job in the NFL when he became the Buccaneer’s defensive assistant.
Falcons owner Arthur Blank said Raheem is well-prepared for what’s ahead because of his experience.
“His time in LA has given him an enhanced perspective on everything from personnel, team operations, game planning, working with an outstanding offensive staff and many other things that has helped him develop into an even more prepared coach in all aspects of the game,” Blank said in a statement according to ESPN. “I believe his leadership skills have grown and his understanding of what it takes to have a highly collaborative one-team culture are now at a much higher level.”
Blank adds that it’s a historic day for the franchise.
“We are thrilled to welcome Raheem Morris back to Atlanta as the team’s new head coach,” he said. “Raheem emerged from a field of excellent candidates and is the right leader to take our team into the future.”