Better Than They Found It

The story of men who dared to lead the game they loved to play.

Project type: Nonfiction Feature
Project status: Production
Director/Producer: Tarana Mayes
Producer: Shannon Doyle Bell
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What starts with the filmmaker’s simple curiosity about her father’s unlikely rise to a coveted role in professional sports, comes to embody a dramatic, thorough, and adventurous origin story about the Black coach movement in football.


Better Than They Found It ventures behind the curtain of the coaching carousel, past the headlines about a lack of opportunity in America’s game, into the true stories of the Black assistant coaches who lived them.

Unraveling a barrage of statistics surrounding one of sports’ most enduring controversies, interviews with 18 coaches and other pivotal figures have already been filmed. The participants are trailblazing legends with Super Bowl titles, Hall of Famers, and some of the most prolific, long-serving coaches football has seen. They not only changed the complexion of coaching ranks. By revolutionizing stereotypes about and imagery surrounding leadership in football, they helped make space for women currently thriving in the game.


Meet the Filmmakers

Tarana Mayes – Director/Producer
Tarana is the owner of Capacity Media, LLC, an emerging multi-platform production company developing scripted and unscripted projects, including a docuseries based on her dad’s 33-year career in the NFL. Tarana honed her craft as a member of Emmy and Peabody Award-winning teams at ABC and has over twenty years of experience. Her work has been seen by millions on Good Morning America, Nightline, World News, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and many more. Of all the stories she has told as a writer and veteran television producer, Tarana’s favorites are the extraordinary stories of ordinary people. Driven to diversify news and entertainment, Tarana successfully contributed to changing the scope of media representation producing for networks including BET, TV One, and Bravo. Most recently, she helped build one of the largest Spanish-language news platforms in the U.S. She is a graduate of Stanford University and resides in Atlanta, Ga. with her husband and their daughters.

Shannon Doyle Bell – Producer
Shannon is an Emmy-nominated producer, whose mission is to surface new stories by women creators. She is committed and passionate about telling the untold stories of her Black community and being entrusted with them. Shannon has vast entertainment industry experience with development, production and post-production, while producing unscripted television, film, satellite radio and podcasts in Los Angeles and Atlanta. She is NYU I Tisch School of Arts certified in Film & TV Industry Essentials. She is a graduate of Kent State University where she earned her B.A.S. in Journalism and Mass Communications with a focus on Media Management & Electronic Media Production. Shannon lives in Atlanta with her husband and three children.

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