Katie Sowers, an offensive assistant coach for the San Francisco 49ers, made history yesterday as the first female and openly LGBT coach in the Super Bowl.
Sowers, 33, has worked long and hard to get to where she is. Off the field, she graduated from the University of Central Missouri after earning her Masters and started off as the City of Kansas City athletic director. Sowers also played with the Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) for eight years and was a member of the U.S. Women’s National Football Team.
Sowers’ big coaching break came in the form of a fifth grade basketball team. One of the girls on the team Sowers was coaching happened to be the daughter of Scott Pioli, the former assistant general manager of the Atlanta Falcons. He referred Sowers to Falcons coach Dan Quinn and asked that she be considered for the 2016 Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship, a program that aims to hire more minority coaches.
Sowers was then offered an internship with the NFL for ten months. She was able to accept after Pioli paid her rent in Atlanta; the internship only offered $10 per hour for 40 hours per week. Sowers quickly impressed offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, and he offered her a job in 2016. When Shanahan left to coach in San Francisco, Sowers joined him.
“We have all these assumptions about what women do in life and what men do. I’m not trying to be the best female coach. I’m trying to be the best coach,” Sowers said in a recently aired Microsoft commercial. “All it takes is one, all it takes is one and then it opens the door for so many.”
According to the New York Times, seven full-time female coaches and 15 coaching interns have worked in the NFL since 2015.
Sources: Good Morning America, 2/2/20; New York Times, 2/1/20; Forbes, 2/1/20.