Gender barriers in professional football have existed since the beginning of the sport, and continue on to this very day. However, one big barrier has apparently been broken — women coaching an NFL team.
Pro Football Talk is reporting that the Buffalo Bills are adding the first full-time female assistant coach in the history of the NFL to their staff.
That history making woman is Kathryn Smith, who will serve as a special teams quality control coach.
Smith isn’t just a gimmick hire either, she has the chops of just about any male counterpart looking to break in to the coaching realm. It doesn’t hurt that she has a long-standing back office relationship with Bills’ head coach Rex Ryan either.
She worked as the administrative assistant to coach Rex Ryan in 2015, a position she also held during Ryan’s final year with the Jets. Before that, she spent seven years as a player personnel assistant with the Jets. Previously, she was a game day-special events intern and a college scouting intern.
Those are some serious credentials in terms of understanding what it takes to play the game and what makes a player successful.
According to the PFT report, Smith’s hiring has been submitted to the NFL league office, but the team has yet to make a public statement.
Smith will now get the opportunity to learn and grow in a different aspect of the game of football, and with her knowledge of the game and the inner workings of it she won’t exactly be thrown in to the deep end without any knowledge of how to swim.