West Coast Conference introduces the ‘Russell Rule,’ a diversity hiring initiative named for Bill Russell

The West Coast Conference is introducing a significant diversity hiring initiative which will be known as “The Russell Rule,” named after NBA and WCC legend Bill Russell. 

Moving forward, all WCC members will be required to “include a member of a traditionally underrepresented community” in the final pool of candidates for the following positions in each athletic department: athletic director, senior administrator, head coach and full-time assistant coach. In doing so, the WCC said it is the first conference to make such a commitment in Division I athletics.

The conference is partnering with Russell, who won two national titles at the University of San Francisco before winning 11 NBA championships with the Boston Celtics, and Dr. Richard Lapchick, a human rights activist and founder of The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport. 

“It is my hope the West Coast Conference initiative will encourage other leagues and schools to make similar commitments,” Russell said in a conference press release. “We need to be intentional if we’re going to make real change for people of color in leadership positions in college athletics. I’m proud to assist the WCC and Commissioner Nevarez by endorsing this most important initiative.”

WCC commissioner Gloria Nevarez, the first Latinx commissioner in Division I, received unanimous approval from the league’s presidents to move forward with the Russell Rule, which will be part of the conference’s “We are Committed to Change” platform. 

“Bill Russell is the greatest basketball player and social justice advocate the nation has seen. He is a champion for change. It is our belief the WCC ‘Russell Rule’ will live up to his legacy,” Nevarez said. “Our goal is that the diversity of our student-athletes is reflected in those that lead and mentor them and provides a holistic and inclusive education during their time at WCC institutions.”

The West Coast Conference is introducing a significant diversity hiring initiative which will be known as “The Russell Rule,” named after NBA and WCC legend Bill Russell. 

Moving forward, all WCC members will be required to “include a member of a traditionally underrepresented community” in the final pool of candidates for the following positions in each athletic department: athletic director, senior administrator, head coach and full-time assistant coach. In doing so, the WCC said it is the first conference to make such a commitment in Division I athletics.

The conference is partnering with Russell, who won two national titles at the University of San Francisco before winning 11 NBA championships with the Boston Celtics, and Dr. Richard Lapchick, a human rights activist and founder of The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport. 

“It is my hope the West Coast Conference initiative will encourage other leagues and schools to make similar commitments,” Russell said in a conference press release. “We need to be intentional if we’re going to make real change for people of color in leadership positions in college athletics. I’m proud to assist the WCC and Commissioner Nevarez by endorsing this most important initiative.”

WCC commissioner Gloria Nevarez, the first Latinx commissioner in Division I, received unanimous approval from the league’s presidents to move forward with the Russell Rule, which will be part of the conference’s “We are Committed to Change” platform. 

“Bill Russell is the greatest basketball player and social justice advocate the nation has seen. He is a champion for change. It is our belief the WCC ‘Russell Rule’ will live up to his legacy,” Nevarez said. “Our goal is that the diversity of our student-athletes is reflected in those that lead and mentor them and provides a holistic and inclusive education during their time at WCC institutions.”

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