Zimmer, Spielman speaking at NFL symposium

Vikings coach Mike Zimmer and GM Rick Spielman will be speaking at an NFL symposium later this month in Arizona.

Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman will be among at least 10 current and former NFL coaches and executives speaking at the NFL Career Development Symposium March 19-21 in Arizona.

The three-day program will engage aspiring head coach and general manager candidates through presentations, panel discussions, breakout sessions and networking opportunities with owners, club presidents, coaches, general managers and league executives.

Zimmer attended the symposium as a coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2013 and was hired as the Vikings’ head coach in 2014.

Among the presentations will be topics like “Expectations of Ownership,” “Building a Winning Culture,” “Club Business,” “Interviewing Techniques,” “Managing Relationships,” and two breakout panels – one for aspiring head coaches and one for aspiring general managers.

Five current head coaches attended the previous two symposiums as assistant coaches, according to an NFL release, with 68 NFL assistant coaches and front office executives taking part. Career Development Symposium participants are selected by the NFL office after NFL clubs submit nominations from their staffs.

Others speaking at the event will be Arizona Cardinals president Michael Bidwill, Giants president and CEO John Mara, Chargers general manager Tom Telesco, Browns head coach Mike Pettine, along with former coaches and general managers like Bill Cowher, Charley Casserly, Bill Polian and Ron Wolf.

“The Career Development Symposium is one in a series of programs we offer to develop talent throughout the NFL,” Robert Gulliver, the NFL’s chief human resources officer, said in a release. “We have pulled together the next generation of head coaches and general managers who will benefit from the insights of owners, current and former head coaches and general managers as they look to take that next step in their careers.”

The NFL Career Development Symposium supplements other initiatives that include:

  • Bill Walsh NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship (April-June 2015; July-August 2015), which provides opportunities at all 32 NFL clubs for minority coaches to observe, participate and gain coaching experience.

  • Nunn-Wooten Scouting Fellowship (May – August 2015), which provides former players the opportunity to learn gain the fundamentals of scouting at the NFL level.

  • NFL-NCAA Coaches Academy (February 2015), which offered 58 coaches/coaching prospects – including 28 current and former NFL players – with tools and networking opportunities for potential careers as football coaches.

  • NFL Video Interview Program (February 2015), for those who have been identified as potential head coaches or general managers. The program gives clubs the ability to view an informational interview conducted by an executive search firm.

  • NFL-NCAA Champion Forum (June 2015) for those who have been identified as potential head coaches by college administrators, this program simulates the intercollegiate interview process from researching the position to their first staff meeting after becoming a head coach.


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