American football has been primarily known as a male sport and is especially evident in how the NFL has been dominated by male coaches since its early days. However, that has now changed after the Buffalo Bills signed Kathryn Smith, making her the first full-time female coach in the history of the league.
Despite this first for the NFL, this is not Smith’s first rodeo. She has always been involved with sports. She became a three-sport athlete at Christian Brothers Academy, later going on to be a sport management major at St. John’s University. This opened the door for her to be a student manager for the men’s basketball team.
Alyssa Wilson, sophomore kinesiology major, said the move will pave the way for other women in the field.
“This hiring move is very interesting and will create opportunities for women in the league, but Smith needs to prove herself once she is in the NFL to show critics women can get the job done too,”Wilson said.
Smith follows the footsteps of Jen Welter, assistant coach to the Arizona Cardinals and the first female hire in the NFL. Welter was hired in by the
Cardinals in July 2015.
Jessica Gutierrez, junior business major, said she believes football is not just limited to men.
“This historic moment in American football is great for women and shows that females can be involved in a man’s game,” Gutierrez said.
Women have been involved in the NFL on the sidelines of games, either helping out with equipment, as athletic trainers or serving water, but there has not been any history of women being coaches in the NFL until Jen Welter and Kathryn Smith changed that.
The NFL has finally shined its light on the need for diversity in America’s most popular sport, not only among its players but also its staff.
By becoming the Bills’ special team’s quality control coach, Smith has opened a door for female coaches all over the world to make their dreams a reality. Smith and the team are already at work in preparation for next season.