Pioli Family Fund for HBCU Coaches and Scouts selects six to receive grants 

General Published on : 5/23/2023
  • Awardees fill roles ranging from position coaches to coordinators; funding will assist career advancement

Six individuals with ties to Historically Black Colleges and Universities have been selected to receive grants from the Pioli Family Fund for HBCU Coaches and Scouts to help them fulfill career development goals.

The six recipients are Wyatt Anderson, Marvin Bohannon Jr., Christian LeMay, Zane Samuel, Jesse Thompson and Jesse “Trey” Wallace.

Anderson, currently the running backs coach and recruiting coordinator at Mississippi Valley State University, said he intends to use the funds to buy equipment necessary to help grow the Delta Devils’ program. In his application, Anderson said his passion for coaching at an HBCU school came from his father, who coached at Kentucky State for over a decade.

Bohannon, the safeties coach at Alabama A&M, said the grant will help him pay for his doctorate degree in sports administration. His career goal is to become an athletic director.

LeMay, quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator at Livingstone College in Salisbury, N.C., also indicated his priority would be to use the grant to buy additional equipment to help the program run more effective practices and drills.

Samuel and Thompson also work at Mississippi Valley State — Samuel as defensive line coach and financial aid liaison, and Thompson as defensive coordinator. Samuel said the funds will help cover costs incurred in his relocation to the university; Thompson, who said he wants to improve the narrative about HBCUs in general, would use the funds to help defray costs associated with travel for recruiting.

Wallace is director of internal operations for the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) and a former coach at Fort Valley State in Georgia. The grant will help him attain his goal of becoming a college scout.

“We're excited and honored to support another group of coaches and scouts that aspire to achieve their personal goals in the great game of football,” Scott Pioli said. “We're truly thankful to the team at the Black College Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame for giving us the platform to serve others.”

Pioli, a former college coach and longtime executive in the National Football League, established the endowed fund in 2020 along with his wife, Dallas, and their daughter, Mia, to create more opportunities for men and women affiliated with HBCUs in the game of football. The program continues Scott’s long association with the Black College Football Hall of Fame and the family’s efforts to increase opportunities in the game across race and gender.

Grant money received through the Pioli Family Fund can be used for expenses related to professional development.

In 2021, Terry Jefferson and James Bullock III were named the first two recipients of grants from the Pioli Family Fund for HBCU Coaches and Scouts.

“The Pioli Family Fund was truly a blessing in my life and helped me to get over a hump that most wouldn't have,” said Jefferson, a graduate of Florida A&M who now is a member of the Jacksonville State coaching staff. “I’m so very thankful to be a former recipient of this fund because I would not be sitting here as the corners coach at Jacksonville State without it.”

Applications for the grants are accepted from current coaches and scouts at Historically Black Colleges and Universities or from graduates of HBCUs who are serving as football coaches or scouts and are pursuing career advancement at the collegiate or professional level.

Pioli partnered with the Pro Football Hall of Fame to administer the Fund because of the Hall’s close association with the Black College Football Hall of Fame, where he is a member of the Advisory Board. The two organizations announced a partnership in 2016 to collaborate on numerous initiatives and events. They include an annual BCFHOF Classic football game, which this year will feature Morehouse College and Virginia Union University on Sept. 3; hosting future BCFHOF induction ceremonies; expanded educational programming and special events year-round at the Hall; and offering internship opportunities to graduates of HBCUs.

A major exhibit for the Black College Football Hall of Fame — honoring the greatest players, coaches and contributors of HBCUs — is located inside the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Plans call for that space to be developed into its own museum. The Black College Football Hall of Fame will add eight members with its Class of 2023. The class will be honored at the 14th annual Black College Football Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony presented by the Atlanta Falcons on June 10 inside the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.

“The Pro Football Hall of Fame is proud to partner with the Pioli Family Fund to support aspiring coaches and scouts from Historically Black Colleges and Universities,” said Adrian Allison, chief relationship officer at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “Scott’s personal commitment to remove barriers through this endowment so that young professionals have the opportunity to reach the highest level of the profession, like he did, is a testament to his passion for people and the game of football. We are excited to see what comes next for these worthy grantees.”

To learn more about the Pioli Family Fund for HBCU Coaches and Scouts or to donate directly to the fund, go to https://www.profootballhof.com/pioli-family-fund/.

For more information about donations or the application process, emails may be sent to [email protected].