The Bears on Thursday announced six coaching interns for the duration of training camp, part of the NFL's Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship, which is in its 31st year. The program's objective is to use NFL clubs' training camps to give coaches opportunities to observe, participate, gain experience and ultimately gain a full-time NFL coaching position.
The six coaches are Jason Brooks (Colby College; defensive line), Travis Fisher (Nebraska; defensive backs), Chris Jackson (Liberty HS; wide receivers), Thaddaeus Ward (Illinois, running backs), Ronell Williams (Temple; linebackers) and Corey Woods (Limestone College; offensive line).
Brooks serves as the defensive line coach at Colby College in Waterville, Maine. This marks his second year interning with the Bill Walsh fellowship after interning with the Miami Dolphins tight ends last summer. Brooks worked with the Baltimore Ravens as an offensive assistant and offensive quality control from May 2009 to February 2013 and was part of the 2012 Super Bowl champion team when the Ravens beat the San Francisco 49ers. Brooks left the Ravens for Florida International as the defensive backs coach for the 2013 and 2014 seasons. Brooks then switched over to offense and coached the tight ends for the 2015 and 2016 seasons. A 2006 graduate of Middle Tennessee State University, Brooks was a student assistant coach for the Blue Raiders, working with running backs and special teams for the 2006 season. He had his first coaching job at the NCAA Division III level at Norwich University as the wide receivers coach from July 2008 to May 2009.
Fisher is in his first year as the assistant defensive backs coach at Nebraska after serving in the same capacity at Central Florida the past three seasons. In 2014 he served as the cornerbacks coach at Southeast Missouri State and spent the 2013 season as a defensive quality control assistant at UCF. As a player at UCF from 1999-2001, Fisher totaled 130 tackles and was selected in the second round of the 2002 NFL Draft with the 64th overall pick by the St. Louis Rams, becoming the highest drafted defensive back in UCF history. He went on to spend eight seasons in the NFL and led the NFL with two interception returns for touchdowns and 205 interception return yards in 2003.
Jackson is the wide receivers coach at Liberty High School in Peoria, Ariz. Jackson played collegiately at Washington State from 1996-97 and spent five seasons in the NFL with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1998), Seattle Seahawks (1999), Tennessee Titans (2000), Green Bay Packers (2002) and Miami Dolphins (2003). After his NFL playing days, Jackson spent several seasons in the Arena Football league where he was a standout wide receiver and the AFL Rookie of the Year in 2000 with the L.A. Avengers. He helped the Philadelphia Soul to an Arena Bowl XXII championship in 2008, recording 140 reception for 1,692 yards and 49 touchdowns.
Ward currently serves as running backs coach at Illinois, where he has been since 2016. Prior to that he spent three seasons at Northern Illinois as wide receivers coach and served in the same capacity at Western Michigan in 2012. Prior to that he coached at Gardner-Webb in 2011 (WR coach/passing game coordinator), Western Illinois from 2005-10 (running backs), Tallahassee Rickards High School from 2003-04 (WR/DB, interim head coach in 2004) and was a graduate assistant at Florida A&M in 2002. He played collegiately at UCF from 1999-2001.
Williams is in his second year as a defensive analyst at Temple. Williams spent the 2016 season at Widener College as an assistant coach, working primarily with the linebackers. The former linebacker was a four-year letterman at Division II West Chester University where he led the team in tackles for three straight seasons (2011-13). He became the first sophomore and third defensive player in school history to earn first-team All-America honors by the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) in 2012.
Woods serves as assistant head coach and offensive line coach at Limestone College, where current Bears wide receivers coach Mike Furrey served as an assistant coach from 2016-17. Prior to his arrival at Limestone, Woods spent four seasons as the offensive line and tight ends coach at Kutztown University in Pennsylvania. Woods played collegiately at the University of Akron where he made 48 consecutive starts along the offensive line and was named All-MAC as a junior. He signed with the New England Patriots during the 2011 offseason and also played with the Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL before joining the staff at Kutztown.
For more information on the Bill Walsh Coaching Fellowship, visit NFL.com.