Women Coaches of the NFL

Whilst American Football and the NFL is possibly the most male dominated sport in the World, there have been some incredible achievements in the last couple of years by women who have not taken no for an answer.

Teams in the NFL are slowly coming around to the idea that yes, women can indeed coach…and thanks to the help of some forward thinking franchises and Sam Rapoport (Senior Director of the NFL), female coaches are beginning to make their mark one of the Worlds most watched sports leagues.

Below are the names and short biographies of some of these trailblazing women who have opened the doors and led the way for a future of diversity in coaching American Football in the NFL (in no particular order!)

Kathryn Smith – First full-time female NFL Coach (2016)

In 2016, Kathryn Smith was hired as the first full time female coach in NFL history. She served as Special Teams Quality Control with the Buffalo Bills during the 2016 – 2017 season.

Having started her career working in administration departments in the New York Jets, she progressed into coaching after serving as their college scouting intern, player personnel assistant and administrative assistant.

Kathryn joined the Bills in 2015, originally working in administration also, and then replaced Michael Hamlin in her coaching role. After the dismissal of Rex Ryan, Kathryn was not retained by new coach Sean McDermott heading into the 2017 season.

Lori Locust – Asst D-Line Coach at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2019)

Having enjoyed a very successful semi-professional playing career for Harrisburg Angels and Keystone Assault (women’s team), where she was voted MVP (Most Valuable Player) in 2007, Lori then made the transition into coaching.

Remaining within the woman’s game, Coach Lori was appointed the Head Defensive Line Coach at Keystone Assault, a position which she held for 4 seasons. During this time her dedication, ability and undoubted talent for coaching brought her to the attention of the men’s game and in 2013, she was appointed Assistant Coach for Central Penn Piranha.

Lori combined the role of Coach to Central Penn and the Head Defensive Line Coach and Defensive Special Teams Coordinator for the Central Penn Capitals Men’s Arena (indoor) Team.

Fast forward to 2018, when Lori served as a Defensive Coaching Intern for the Baltimore Ravens during the team’s training camp and, from 2017-18, worked as a defensive line/linebackers coach and co-special teams coordinator of the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks of the National Arena League.

In 2019, Lori was appointed as Assistant Defensive Line Coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, achieving her coaching dream.

Maral Javadifar – Asst S&C Coach at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2019)

Maral Javadifar is the assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and has most recently worked as a physical therapist at Avant Physical Therapy in Seattle.

Maral completing her Sports Physical Therapy Residency at Virginia Commonwealth in August of 2018. Prior to her time at VCU, Maral worked as a physical therapist and performance trainer in Virginia, while also serving as a guest lecturer at George Mason University.

A native of Queens, New York, Javadifar played basketball at Pace University in New York City. After receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology from Pace, Javadifar then earned her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from New York Medical College.

Katie Sowers – Asst. Offensive Coach at San Fransisco 49ers (2019)

Katie Sowers is the assistant Offensive Coach with the San Fransisco 49ers, and is the first women to ever coach in a Super Bowl.

After injury forced her to quit playing American Football in 2016, Katie joined the National Football League as a wide receiver’s intern with the Atlanta Falcons. Thanks to the Bill Walsh Diversity Fellowship Program, she went on to join the San Fransisco 49ers first as an intern and then offensive assistant coach in 2019.

Callie Brownson – Full time intern at Buffalo Bills (2019)

Callie Brownson, a graduate of George Mason University, never had the opportunity to play football beyond the youth level, but played eight seasons as a safety, running back and slot receiver for the D.C. Divas of the Women’s Football Alliance. A five-time team captain, Callie was a four-time All-American.

After coaching high school football in Northern Virginia for three years, Callie attended the Manning Passing Academy where she served as one of 16 female coaches for the first women’s clinic. It was there she met Dartmouth head coach Buddy Teevens, who was impressed with her expansive knowledge base.

He offered her a two-week internship that turned into a full-time position as an offensive quality control coach, becoming the first full-time female football coach in Division I.

Coincidentally, after getting a similar two-week training camp internship with the Buffalo Bills this summer, her performance was such that again she was offered a full-year position on Sean McDermott’s staff.

SOURCE: buffallobills.com

Phoebe Schecter – Full time Intern at Buffalo Bills (2017)

Phoebe Schecter is an American Football Coach and player from both the USA and Great Britain.  Phoebe moved to Cheshire, England from Connecticut, USA in 2013 to work for a member of the Dutch Olympic equestrian team.  

It wasn’t until this move, that Phoebe fell in love with American Football.  She joined a women’s football team as a Defensive Linebacker and got the bug for contact sports.  Having competed and captained the GB team, she also became Captain for the England team at the World Kabaddi Championships!

In 2017, Phoebe took an internship role with the NFL team the Buffallo Bills.  

Chelsea Romero – Training Camp Asst S&C Coach at the LA Rams (2017)

Chelsea Romero is the LA Rams Training Camp Assistant Strength Coach and has been since 2017. As well as supporting players work in the weight room, she also supports the sports science team out on the field of play during training.

In 2019, Chelsea gave birth only 4 weeks before starting her third training camp with the LA Rams!

Jennifer King – Intern at the Carolina Panthers (2018)

Jennifer King was an Intern Running Back Coach for the Carolina Panthers in preseason 2018 and again in 2019.

Having been a successful basketball coach as an assistant at Greensboro College, USA, (because nobody would let her coach football) and head coach at Charlotte’s Johnson & Wales, which she led to a national title in 2018.

Having been part of the NFL Women’s Career Forum in 2017, Jennifer went on to complete two intern stints as the Panthers first ever female coach. She is now full time Offensive Coach at Dartmouth College.

Jen Welter – Intern at the Arizona Cardinals (2015)

In 2015, Jen Welter became the first female intern coach in NFL history. She served as intern defensive coach coordinator during the the Arizona Cardinals training camp pre-season during the summer.