Major league sports have always been a boys’ club, but the Buffalo Bills just took a huge step in changing that. The team has hired Kathryn Smith as their quality control coach, making her the NFL’s first full-time coach!
Smith brings years of experience to the position, including 12 years with the New York Jets. After working her way up from an intern position, she became the administrative assistant to Bills head coach Rex Ryan in 2014. And her boss is thrilled about the promotion.
“Kathryn Smith has done an outstanding job in the seven years that she has worked with our staff,” he said in a statement. “She certainly deserves this promotion based on her knowledge and strong commitment, just to name a couple of her outstanding qualities, and I just know she’s going to do a great job serving in the role of Quality Control-Special Teams… She has proven that she’s ready for the next step, so I’m excited and proud for her with this opportunity.”
In her new role, Smith will be keeping an eye on what happens during the game and analyzing footage. She’ll help Ryan make sure the Bills have an edge over their opponents, working on strategy ahead of games.
Although she’s not the only woman to be employed by the NFL in these kinds of positions, Smith is the first full-time coach for the organization. It’s a major step for women in the football industry, and an exciting moment for women in sports! It’s also not the first time the Bills have broken a gender barrier: in 1986 they hired Linda Bogdan, the first female scout in the NFL. She eventually went on to become the VP and assistant director of college and pro-scouting over her 23 year career.
We’re super excited for Smith, but we gotta ask, when will we see a female head coach?
(Image via ESPN/Twitter)