Mike Rodak of espnW.com reports that in a history-making move, the Buffalo Bills have hired Kathryn Smith as a full-time special teams quality control coach, making her the NFL’s first female full-time coach. This came after Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians hired Jen Welter to coach the team’s inside linebackers during their summer training camp.
In a statement Bills head coach Rex Ryan said he consulted Arians about Welter before hiring Smith. However, she’s no stranger to the NFL nor is she a stranger to Ryan, having worked for 12 years for the New York Jets that included Ryan’s last six years as the Jets head coach. And this season she’s been Ryan’s administrative assistant.
Ryan went on to say that “Kathryn has been working in a football administrative role and assisted the assistant coaches for years. She has proven that she’s ready for the next step, so I’m excited and proud for her with this opportunity. She will work with [special teams coordinator] Danny Crossman and [special teams assistant] Eric Smith involving a number of responsibilities.”
This is another step forward for women with great knowledge of the game and sound coaching abilities, like Becky Hammon, the NBA’s first full-time female coach for the San Antonio Spurs, to break the male coaching barrier. Ryan calls Smith’s hiring an exciting time for women like Smith and for the Bills organization as well. And Richie Incognito, offensive lineman for the Bills, tweeted his support for Smith – “Congrats Kathryn!! I know you will do a great job,” followed by a thumbs up and smiley face emojis.
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