First female coach in NFL.

First+female+coach+in+NFL.

Ed Yourdon

By Marc Ramirez, Staff Writer

Women don’t play professional football, but that doesn’t mean they can’t coach it.

This past summer of 2015 the Arizona Cardinals hired Jen Welter as an assistant intern coach for the preseason. Welter became the first female coach in NFL history, but parted ways with the organization after her three game internship had ended. All-Pro Safety Tyrann Mathieu had nothing but praise for Welter in the short amount of time she coached him, “The biggest question coming in was would guys in the NFL respond to a woman coaching them, and the obvious answer is yes” (Des Bieler, Washington Post. Retrieved January 21, 2016).

But with Welter’s departure the NFL had yet to have a full time female coach. Six months later the Buffalo Bills did just that. On January 20th, 2016, the Buffalo Bills hired Kathryn Smith as the teams new Special-teams Quality Control coach, making her the NFL’s first full time assistant. Smith has had some job experience in the NFL prior to her recent hiring, working as a game day and college scouting intern and then became a player personal assistant in 2007 with the New York Jets.

Even with her resume, there are still some who question whether a woman can coach a sport played by men. According to Yahoo, Rex Ryan gave a clear statement on why Smith is worthy of the job, “Kathryn Smith has done an outstanding job in the seven years that she has worked with our staff. She certainly deserves this promotion based on her knowledge and strong commitment, just to name a couple of her outstanding qualities, and I just know she’s going to do a great job serving in the role of Quality Control-Special Teams,” Ryan said. (Shalise Manza Young, Yahoo Sports. Retrived January 21, 2016)

Smith’s hiring opens the door and shows that other women can have a future in the NFL as a coach or assistant.