Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians announced yesterday that Jen Welter will coach the team’s linebackers during this summer’s training camp and preseason. Welter, who played rugby at Boston College and was the linebacker for the Dallas Diamonds for over 14 seasons, is believed to be the NFL’s first female coach.
In addition to holding a master’s degree in sports psychology and Ph.D. in psychology, Welter also became the first woman to play a non-kicking position in a pro football game last year, when she played as running back during a Texas Revolution game. “I thought she was the type of person that could handle this in a very positive way for women and open that door,” Arians said yesterday, reiterating that he hopes the hire will create further opportunities for other women as well. He also confirmed that his players were all “very cool with it … it’s not going to be a distraction in any way.”