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Champion Forum for Football

The Champion Forum provides a unique yearlong professional development opportunity for current NCAA college football coaches to learn a realistic view of the role of and preparation it takes to become a head coach in the college game. The NCAA and five Division I conferences (ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and the SEC) huddle together to select high-performing ethnic minorities, with a focus on providing tailored education to talented rising stars who will lead the next generation of college head coaches.

Participants encounter a series of pre-work and continuing education expertly crafted to develop the leadership and core skills necessary to obtain a head coaching position in the future. Sessions over the three-day program at the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) national convention provide participants the realistic role and preparation necessary to take the next step in becoming a head coach at the college level. Simulating the various formats of the interview process serve as core curriculum, along with exposure to key decisions makers (current and former head coaches, university presidents, conference executives, directors of athletics, search firms) in the industry and gaining a better understanding of the role of search firms in the process. The learning allows coaches to clearly define their coaching philosophies, develop their coaching book and establish best practices for enhancing student-athlete well being.

Recent participants of Champion Forum include Purdue University head coach Darrell Hazell, Shorter University head coach Aaron Kelton, Vanderbilt head coach Derrick Mason, Stanford head coach David Shaw, Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin and Texas State University head coach Everett Withers.

Go here to see the coaches selected for the 2016 NCAA Champion Forum in Dallas.

Eligibility and selection profile

Participants for this program are nominated by the conference offices, and then selected in consultation with the NCAA national office staff and administrators from within the membership. 

The optimal participant:

  • Demonstrates ability to understand college football with a “30,000-foot view,” its role within higher education, and the CEO duties of a head coach.
  • Demonstrates ability to clearly communicate/articulate personal coaching philosophy and vision for a football program to key stakeholders (university administration, donors, media, student-athletes, etc.).
  • Has management experience or management potential (has managed staff previously).
  • Has called plays or is directly involved in game planning.
  • Is a highly-effective recruiter.
  • Quickly climbed coaching ladder and appears primed to become head coach (even if other criteria not met).

Contact us

For more information about the Champion Forum, please contact your conference office football administrator or email

Check It Out
Champion Forum Video

Hear how the Champion Forum provides a unique opportunity to learn the preparation it takes to become a head football coach in the college game.