In July, we heard news of the Becky Hammon taking on the position of assistant coach for the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs, as well as Jen Welter rising to hold a coaching position in the NFL. And now, we have a yet another female breaking into the predominantly male sports industry, specifically the NFL.
According to Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, Sarah Thomas has made history recently as the first female regular season official of the NFL. The Mississippi mom of three has been officiating football games since 1999, and made history once before by becoming the first woman to ref a college bowl game.
Smart Girls says that Thomas got the opportunity to officiate in a regular season game passing through the preseason as a finalist in the NFL’s Officiating Development Program, and her first game was during Week 1 of this year’s football season, calling the Houston Texans/Kansas City Chiefs game.
Thank you, Sarah Thomas, for showing us that hard work, determination and persistence is what it takes to break into a male-dominated industry.
Another national sports league is opening its doors to women, and this time its the NFL.
According to Glamour, Jen Welter has been named the NFL’s first female assistant coaching intern, working on the Arizona Cardinals coaching staff once training begins on August 1.
Although this is a first for the league, it is not Welter’s first time involved with professional level football. Glamour says that Welter “spent 14 years playing professional football as a part of the Women’s Football Alliance,” at the position of linebacker. In 2014, she became the first female non-kicking player to join an Indoor Football League team.
After playing for the indoor league team, the Texas Revolution, Glamour reports that the team hired her in February 2015 to coach linebackers and special teams. And the rest, as they say, is history.
When asked if he thought a female could ever coach in the NFL, Bruce Arians, head coach of the Arizona Cardinals, told reporters earlier this year, “‘I wanted to open that door. Coaching is nothing more than teaching.'” Arians also said that players are only concerned with coaches’ abilities to transform them into better players, saying “‘[they] don’t [care] if you’re the Green Hornet. [They’ll] listen.'”
And what an example of hard work and determination she will be to her players. Congratulations to you, Jen Welter! And bravo, Arizona Cardinals!