Starting July 25, Trai Essex, La'Roi Glover, Andre King, Heather Marini and Louis Murphy Jr. will assist the Bucs' coaching staff as the team prepares for the 2021 regular season. The Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship is designed to give talented coaches opportunities to observe, participate, gain experience and ultimately gain an NFL coaching position during league training camps, mini-camps and offseason workout programs.
Bucs fans will recognize Murphy Jr. from his playing days as a wide receiver for Tampa Bay for three seasons from 2014-2016. It was part of an eight-year playing career that included stops in Oakland, Carolina, New York and San Francisco along with his time in this Bay Area. A St. Petersburg native, Murphy Jr. attended the University of Florida, winning two BCS Championships with the Gators. He returned to St. Petersburg where he served as the head coach of Gibbs High School in 2020.
Marini comes to the Bucs from Brown University, where she became Division I's first female position coach this past season after being named the team's quarterbacks coach. Prior to that, she served as an offensive quality control coach for the Bears. Prior to arriving at Brown, the native Australian spent a summer working with the New York Jets in a scouting capacity under then-Head Coach Todd Bowles. Marini both played and coached American Football in Australia, even serving as Head Coach of the Monash Warriors Gridiron Club down under.
Essex, Grover and King are all former players in the NFL with decorated careers. Essex played under current Bucs Head Coach Bruce Arians in both Pittsburgh and Indianapolis and was a part of both Steelers' Super Bowl-winning teams (XL and XLIII). Essex played collegiately at Northwestern prior to his eight-year NFL playing career.
Grover was a six-time Pro Bowler who was named to the NFL's 2000s All-Decade Team after starting 167 of 193 games played at defensive tackle. His NFL stops included Oakland, New Orleans, Dallas and St. Louis from 1996-2008. He served as the Rams' Director of Player Engagement shortly after retiring from the field and most recently served as the Chargers' assistant defensive line coach. He was also an assistant to the defensive line in New York under Bowles while he was head coach.
King also has ties back to the Bucs' current coaching staff. He played under Arians while with the Cleveland Browns from 2001-2004. He played collegiately at the University of Miami after a career in professional baseball, playing in the farm systems of the Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds and Tampa Bay Rays.
The Bill Walsh Coaching Fellowship program has helped countless qualified coaches earn NFL opportunities. Just ask current Bucs' assistant Thaddeus Lewis, who started with the team during training camp in 2020 as a Bill Walsh Coaching Fellow himself. He was retained throughout the year and this past offseason was elevated to assistant wide receivers coach under Kevin Garver, working with one of Tampa Bay's most talented units.
Assistant defensive line coach Lori Locust is also an alumnus of the program, participating in training camp with the Baltimore Ravens back in 2018.