Katie Sowers is used to tackling obstacles in her way; she’s played football since she was a child and even played professionally in the Women’s Football Alliance. But recently, Sowers took down one of the biggest barriers in her way — and in the way of countless others.
According to ThinkProgress, Sowers was recently hired by the San Francisco 49ers as an offensive assistant, not only making her “the second full-time assistant coach in the NFL,” but also “the first openly LGBTQ coach in NFL history.” Her move to a full-time position follows a stint working as a scouting intern for the Atlanta Falcons, says ThinkProgress, where she got to know and later work with then-offensive coordinator for the Falcons Kyle Shanahan (now the 49ers head coach).
ThinkProgress also reports that Sowers began working this summer as a coaching intern with the 49ers through the Bill Walsh NFL Diversity Fellowship program, which led to her full-time position. As an offensive assistant, ThinkProgress says Sowers will “help break down film, help with practice scripts and player rotations, and generally assist the wide receivers in their day-to-day preparations.”
Speaking with OutSports about her position and the influence diversity can have in pro sports, Sowers shared that seeing women work in football never seemed possible when she was a child.
“I would have loved to see women in this role when I was growing up because I think it would have allowed me to follow my passion even earlier,” she said.
But now that she has broken into the role, Sowers said that creative a diverse and inclusive environment where people feel comfortable being themselves should become a priority.
“The more we can create an environment that welcomes all types of people,” she told OutSports, “no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, the more we can help ease the pain and burden that many carry every day.”