Texas Southern University honored Kevin Warren, the National Football League’s (NFL) highest ranking African American executive, with its inaugural Pioneer Award, February 4th in downtown Houston. Warren serves as chief operating officer for the Minnesota Vikings. The Pioneer Award was conceived by Texas Southern University alumnus and Washington Redskins Sr. VP of Communication Tony Wyllie. Its purpose is to highlight the diversity within the NFL’s front offices and encourage continued inclusive hiring practices by NFL franchises. Warren pledged to continue to work hard and do all that he can do to open up doors not only for people of color but also women. Texas Southern University presented the Pioneer Award as part of Super Bowl LI festivities. Reception proceeds benefit the University's Graduation Success Scholarship. The plan is to hand out the award each year at the Super Bowl site, with next year’s game being in Minnesota.