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Historic Anniversary


Twenty five years ago, Al Davis made a historic decision when he hired Art Shell as the head coach of the then Los Angeles Raiders, making him the first African-American coach in the modern era of professional football.

Prior to the Charleston, S.C.-native being promoted to the head job in LA, Shell was a Hall of Fame offensive tackle for the Silver and Black from 1968-82 and had joined the Raiders coaching staff in 1983.

During his playing days, he was an All-American Conference selection six straight seasons from 1973-78, an All-Pro in 1973, 1974 and 1977, and also was named to eight Pro Bowls.

He played in eight AFL-AFC Championships and was part of the Raiders teams that won Super Bowls XI and XV.

Shell served two stints as the head coach of the Silver and Black, his first spanning from 1989-94 where he enjoyed a record of 54-38 and was named the AFC Coach of the Year in 1990. He returned for one more season in 2006 before his coaching career came to a close.

Time and again, Mr. Davis proved to be a pioneer in social progression, not only hiring Shell, but also hiring the first Hispanic head coach, Tom Flores, in 1979, who later became the first minority head coach to win the Super Bowl, a feat he accomplished twice, notching victories for the Raiders in both Super Bowl XV and Super Bowl XVIII.

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