In addition to the anniversary of the founding of the NAACP (Feb. 12, 1909) on the 100th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth, today marks the one-year anniversary of Kevin Warren being promoted to Vikings Chief Operating Officer.
Warren is the highest-ranking African American executive working on the business side of an NFL team.
The 2016 season will be his 18th in the NFL and 12th with the Vikings.
Warren’s passion for athletics as a participant or spectator is deep and stemmed from his father, Morrison Warren, Sr., who played fullback for Arizona State College in 1946-47. When teams in Arizona State’s conference discriminated against Mr. Warren, the school refused to play those opponents until the policies were reversed. Mr. Warren went on to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers of the All-American Football Conference in 1948 before becoming a teacher. He later served as first African American president of a major college bowl game (the Fiesta Bowl, 1981-82).
Kevin Warren was a member of the Pennsylvania Quakers 1982 Ivy League championship team before transferring to Grand Canyon University in his native state of Arizona. Warren scored 1,118 points at GCU, earning Academic All-America honors as a senior, but his favorite aspect of sports is the way they can bring people together for a common purpose.
“When you get in competition, you are teammates, regardless of background, race, religion, color, creed, ethnicity or whatever the case may be, and I think that’s a beautiful thing about sports,” Warren said.