It’s no secret that men dominate the sports industry. However, women are rapidly making their coaching presence known in sports, especially in the NFL. Just this past year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers became the first team in the history of the NFL to hire two full time female coaches. In honor of Women’s History Month, let’s take a look at the fierce women that are blazing the trail in the NFL as coaches.
1. Jen Welter
“Don’t get me wrong: just like you, I have had my days when I would not have chosen greatness on my own. It took work. It took strategy. It took perseverance. Don’t leave your greatness to chance.” – Jen Welter
In 2015, Jen Welter became the first female assistant of any kind in NFL history after being hired as a training camp intern. She was hired by Bruce Arians, the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals. As an intern, she coached the training camps and the preseason, as well as worked with the team’s inside linebackers. Welter played professional football in the Women’s Football Alliance for 14 seasons. She also played for Team USA in the International Federation of American Football Women’s World Championship in 2010 and 2013, where she won two gold medals.
2. Kathryn Smith
“If you do the best that you can and you work as hard as possible, those opportunities will come to you. It may take a while. You will probably have to be patient. It’s not going to happen overnight, but if you’re persistent and you just keep grinding, good things will happen.”- Kathryn Smith
Kathryn Smith became the first full time female assistant coach in NFL History after The Buffalo Bills hired her as a quality control assistant under head coach Rex Ryan. Before her promotion as coach, she served as an administration assistant for the Bills.
3. Lori Locust
“This didn’t just happen. I might look like an overnight success from the back end, but this has been a long time coming.”- Lori Locust
Locust was one of the two female coaches hired in the NFL by Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians. She was hired as an assistant defensive line coach. Locust also played women’s semi-pro football as a defensive lineman with the Central Penn Vipers. She was also the team’s captain, MVP, and sacks leader. After tearing the ligament in one of her knees, she started looking into coaching instead of playing.
4. Maral Javadifar
“Everyone brings something different to the table.”- Maral Javadifar
Javadifar was the second person of the female duo that Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach, Bruce Arians, hired in the NFL. She worked as the assistant strength and conditioning coach, making the Bucs the first NFL team to hire two full-time coaches. During the NFL owners’ meeting, Arians was asked about the possibility of women coaching in the NFL. He replied, “The minute they can prove they can make a player better, they’ll be hired.”
5. Jennifer King
“It’s important for me to realize that I’m kind of standing on the shoulders of a lot of people myself — people I looked up to. So, it’s important for me to have that positive attitude and outlook for people looking up to me.”- Jennifer King
Jennifer King was hired as a full-year coaching intern for the Washington Redskins. She became the first full season African American female coach in NFL history. Before joining the Redskins, King interned with the Carolina Panthers during two of the offseasons as an assistant wide receivers coach and assistant running backs coach. Before coaching, she played for the Women’s Football Alliance as a seven-time All-American quarterback and receiver, and won the 2018 WFA National Championship.
6. Katie Sowers
credit: Bay Area News Group
“No matter what you do in life, one of the most important things is to be true to who you are. There are so many people who identify as LGBT in the NFL, as in any business, that do not feel comfortable being public about their sexual orientation.- Katie Sowers
Katie Sowers was the offensive assistant coach of the San Francisco 49ers. She was also the first openly gay female coach in Super Bowl history. Sowers played eight years in the Women’s Football Alliance, where she later became the Kansas City Titans’ general manager. Through the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship, Sowers spent the offseason and training camp with the Atlanta Falcons. Sowers was later hired as a seasonal offensive assistant for the San Francisco 49ers.
So like it or not, it looks like women are starting to make their mark in the NFL. They are proving to be more than just a loyal fan-base, but, also, vital components in the success of a team.
About The Author:
Alexandria Jordan is an on-air host and red carpet correspondent with AfterBuzz TV and Black Hollywood Live. She is passionate about all things entertainment and loves connecting with people who share similar interests.
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