2023 Football

Shaw grad works with NFL’s Commanders as coaching intern

Shaw graduate Ulysses Hall is one of seven college coaches interning at the Washington Commanders training camp

Courtesy of Shaw University Athletics

RALEIGH, N.C. – As a Shaw University graduate, Ulysses Hall is a “Bear” for life. This summer, he is also a “Commander” and loving every minute of it. Hall is one of seven college coaching interns at the Washington Commanders training camp. He is interning in Ashburn, Va., courtesy of the Bill Walsh NFL Diversity Coaching Fellowship, which provides NFL coaching experience to a diverse group of participants every year.

It is a unique experience for Hall, who gets to work under Commanders Head Coach Ron Rivera and new offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy, a highly-touted football mind who recently won his second Super Bowl with the Kansas City Chiefs.

“First and foremost, I thank the [Commanders] for even having me out here,” said Hall, who is coaching the Commanders’ tight ends this summer. “I can’t say enough about Coach Bieniemy. He welcomed me to his side of the ball with open arms. I love his coaching style. He is demanding without being demeaning. This is one of the greatest experiences in my coaching career.”

The Bill Walsh Fellowship highlights a meteoric rise in the coaching profession for Hall, who’s been in the business for 11 years at six different colleges and several high schools. In March 2023, Hall joined the football staff at Division III Oberlin College as defensive line coach and director of player personnel after stints at John Carroll University, Alderson Broaddus University, Briar Cliff University, Trinity International University and Ohio Wesleyan University.

His goal is to coach in the NFL or the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS). He appears to be on the right trajectory.

In addition to the Bill Walsh Fellowship, Hall was a 2014 NCAA Top 30 Under 30 selection. The list highlights the best young coaches under age 30 in college football.

In February 2023, he was invited and attended the NCAA and NFL Football Coaches Academy for the second time in five years. The academy is a leadership and development program which prepares coaches for the future.

Former students and fans know Hall from his football days at Shaw, where he helped the Bears win three CIAA titles in the 2000s. A two-year starter at nose tackle, Hall was a team captain and three-time All-CIAA academic selection.

As a student, Hall was the Editor-In-Chief of the student newspaper and president of the Shaw Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC). He interned with WRAL-TV5 and The News & Observer and was a contributing writer for The Triangle Tribune.

Ulysses Hall Commanders

Little did Hall know that his experiences at Shaw would prepare him for a budding coaching career. He was looking to be the next Stephen A. Smith.
“It was the spring of 2011 when I realized I could make a difference,” Hall said. “A tornado hit campus and a lot of people went home but I stayed to help clean up. I realized then I have way more influence helping people.”

What Ulysses Hall learned at Shaw under former administrators Darrell Ashbury and Dr. Candace Harris continues to impact him today. Ashbury was the head football coach and Dr. Harris was the department chairman of mass communications when Hall was in college.

“That last year with Coach [Darrell] Asbury, I was doing more coaching than playing,” Hall said. “Not too many role models like Asbury have the integrity, connection and ability to groom young men. He was the ultimate competitor. You had to wake up every day and prove yourself to him. That was the one thing that stuck. We learned how to compete with him.

“Dr. Candace Harris made me editor-in-chief of the student newspaper. She and Dr. David Marshall [former Shaw interim dean/College of Arts & Sciences] used to make me write the exact same article in different ways to convey the message to different people. It taught me how to communicate in different ways.

Ulysses Hall graduated from Shaw in 2011 with a mass communications degree but football was still in his blood. Hall cut his coaching teeth in the state of Georgia which motivated him to coach.

“I knew I wasn’t ready to put the game down,” Hall said. “I started coaching at the Gwinnett Youth League. I wasn’t getting paid or anything. I was at a sports store selling football equipment. I enjoyed it so much; the kids didn’t know a lot of the X’s and O’s but I enjoyed the relationship. They were looking at me and listening because I was big.”

His time at Shaw paid off more than Hall could imagine.

“Shaw taught me how to develop relationships,” Hall said. “Being a black man raised by a single mother in the suburbs of Detroit, I was always around a mixed group of kids, but being honest, Shaw was my black experience. I needed Shaw to help me understand the different backgrounds of people. I learned how to connect with anybody.”

Shaw grad works with NFL’s Commanders as coaching intern
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