Kathryn Smith, the NFL’s First Female Coach, Says She Won’t Be the Only One for Long

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Kathryn Smith.
Kathryn Smith. Photo: Corbis

Kathryn Smith made headlines on Wednesday when it was announced that she had been hired as the NFL’s first female full-time coach. Though Kathryn’s role is not exactly head-coach status — yet — her hiring was a step in the right direction for all women interested in careers in men’s professional sports. On Thursday evening, Smith gave her first interview with sports-radio station WGR in Buffalo.

Smith, who played three varsity sports at Christian Brothers Academy in Syracuse, told WGR that while she was thrilled with her new job as quality control special teams coach, she wouldn’t be stopping there. “A lot of coaches, that’s where they start,” she said. “They start as an assistant in some regard to a coach, and then the next step is to become a quality control coach and go from there.” Which means Smith sees no reason that these jobs couldn’t and wouldn’t start opening up to more and more women.

“I feel like there are so many women who work in sports, work in football, in the NFL especially,” she said. “It’s really just been an amazing opportunity more than anything.” Smith had started out in the franchise as Rex Ryan’s assistant in 2014, then followed the coach to Buffalo last year. Smith added in an interview with “The John Murphy Show” later, “It’s been pretty extraordinary, the reaction, and I realize that it’s groundbreaking,” she said. “I might be the first, but I think very quickly there are going to be many other women in the league. So I may be the first, but I don’t think I’ll be the only one for very long.”

NFL’s First Female Coach Won’t Be the Only One