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NOMAD to help minority coaches and administrators advance careers

Nation-wide group starts in San Diego
Football field
Posted at 6:07 AM, Dec 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-14 10:35:01-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- In the wake of this summer's protests over racial inequality, a high school athletic director from San Diego is trying to change a system he says doesn't have enough minority representation.

Francis Parker AD Anthony Thomas started NOMAD, the National Organization of Minority Athletic Directors.

"We have to get comfortable being uncomfortable," says Thomas. "And we have to have difficult conversations within our community."

Thomas began the organization with three other AD's from Oakland, Minneapolis, and Richmond, Virginia.

They say NOMAD will guide and mentor minority coaches, athletes, and administrators who want to further their careers.

Thomas says seeing the racial unrest in the wake of George Floyd's death was a turning point.

"I saw myself under that knee. I saw my student-athletes under that knee. I saw my nephew under that knee. So it was really a call to action," says Thomas.

Thomas' school plays in the Coastal Conference. He noticed that only two of its 18 schools have black athletic directors. Thomas saw similar numbers across the state and country but couldn't find any specific data because no one had been tracking it yet on the high school level.

"You have to lead by example," says Thomas. "That's what we decided to do as Nomad is to get out ahead of it, and no longer wait, no longer be complicit."

In its first five months, NOMAD has grown to more than 200 members. They've already held a handful of virtual webinars teaching people how to advance their careers in athletics. Thomas wants to make sure everyone has representation and opportunity.

"The data tells a story," says Thomas. "There's not a lot of opportunities for underrepresented people to become athletic directors, and we would like to see that change in the best way possible. And we want to facilitate hoping in that shift."

Thomas thinks this can also help students by giving minority athletes people they can look up to who also look like them.

He says NOMAD can also help guide conversations between players and coaches of different ethnic and racial groups that intersect in sports.

"This job is not about color. It's not about ethnicity. It's about passion. It's about loving kids. And that's what we want to do," he says. "But we also recognize that our leadership in every aspect needs to reflect its community."