With February being Black History Month, we would like to honor Art Shell, who is recognized as the first African American head coach in the National Football League’s modern era.
A long-time Raider, Shell played offensive tackle for the silver and black from 1968 to 1982 and was elected to the Pro-Bowl eight times. In 1989, he was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and was hired by Al Davis as the head coach of the Los Angeles Raiders. Shortly after the his hiring, Davis was quoted by The New York Times as saying, “If this is a historic occasion, it will really only be meaningful and historic if he is a great success.” Shell coached the Raiders for six seasons, posting a 54-38 record while appearing in the post-season three times. Shell returned to Oakland in 2006 for one more season at the helm but won just two games.
Check out this piece from NFL Films “Road to Glory” showcasing the 1990 Raiders post-season win in which Shell coached his team to the AFC Championship game. The Raiders finished first in the division with a 12-4 record while Shell earned AFC Coach of the Year honors.