The Cleveland Browns fired Head Coach Hue Jackson on October 29 after the Browns won only three of the 40 games Jackson coached over two-and-a-half seasons. According to Pro Football Reference, the team now has an unexpected candidate on the list to take over Jackson’s job: 64-year-old Condoleezza Rice, who served both as United States Secretary of State and National Security Adviser in the George W. Bush administration.
The report came from ESPN NFL “insider” journalist Adam Schefter on Sunday morning. Schefter quoted one Browns source as saying of Rice, “She’s an amazing person.”
Rice, a Birmingham, Alabama, native who has also served as provost of prestigious Stanford University, according to Biography.com, has no experience in professional football, but is an avid fan whose name surfaced in 2014 as a possible candidate to become NFL commissioner.
In fact, in 2002, just one year into her job as Bush’s national security adviser, Rice said in an interview that she “absolutely” held ambitions to hold the NFL commissioner’s job, according to the Washington Post. She is also a lifelong fan of the Browns and attends many of their games, according to Schefter.
“A potential interview hardly means the Browns will hire Rice, but they are interested in talking to her about the job and seeing what she could bring to the position and the organization,” Schefter wrote in his Sunday report.
Rice has been involved with college football, serving on the first College Football Playoff selection committee in 2013, according to ESPN. She served on the committee through 2016.
Appointed national security adviser by Bush in 2001 Rice was a key member of his administration when it came to the U.S. invasions of both Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq the following year. In a controversial speech last year, according to Newsweek, Rice said that neither war was fought “to bring democracy” to the countries, but rather to address “regional security issues.” In 2018, nearly two decades after the start of those wars, thousands of U.S. troops remain in both countries, according to ABC News.
When Bush appointed her to be secretary if state in 2005, Rice became the first black woman, and only the second woman, ever to hold the job, per CNN. She was also the first black woman to hold the job of national security adviser.
One experience Rice does not have, however, is coaching football, according to USA Today. She has never coached the game at any level. If the Browns hire her, she would become the first woman to hold a head coaching position in the National Football League.