For decades, throngs of women were able to be fans of pro sports and have expert knowledge of their favorite teams and fantasy rosters, but were still resigned to simply being cute eye candy as cheerleaders or hangers-on to the boys who suit up and take the field, court, or ice. Thankfully, the tides are beginning to turn, in part to these five outstanding women …
1. Kathryn Smith (pictured)
In January 2016, Kathryn made history when she was hired by the Buffalo Bills as their full-time special teams quality control coach, becoming the first FT female coach in NFL history. She has previous experience working with former Bills and Jets coach Rex Ryan, and was given the bump. And if you think the position is trivial, think again; it’s the same position future head coaches Jon Gruden, Eric Mangini, Tony Sparano, and Todd Haley held prior to taking on head coaching responsibilities.
2. Rebecca “Becky” Hammon
Becky Hammon is a former WNBA baller who is now an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs. Rumor has it that Hammon is on a short list to become the first NBA coach in history. Fingers crossed!
3. Jill Ellis
Jill has coached the US National Women’s Soccer Team since 2014, and she led the women’s team to its first World Cup championship since 1999. She’s slated to lead her team through the 2016 Olympics where the US Women’s Soccer Team could possibly take home their first World Cup and an Olympic Gold Medal in back-to-back years.
4. Nancy Lieberman
Nancy is current the assistant coach for the NBA’s Sacramento Kings — wait, they’re still a team!? — and was once an WNBA star. She’s been making moves as the Kings’ AC and spent time leading the Dallas Mavericks affiliate team in ’09, which, in our opinion, means the near future holds something big and perhaps groundbreaking for Lieberman.
5. Justine Siegal
Justine was hired by the Oakland A’s as a guest instructor for the 2015 Instructional League Season. Her pointers, evidently, made a huge impact, because she was then selected to be the head coach of the Brockton Rox, making her the first woman to coach a men’s professional baseball team.
Additionally, she is the first woman to pitch batting practice for several teams in the MLB. (We’re curious to know how many dudes she made whiff!) While her role with the A’s was only a two-week position, the A’s have noted that this could open up to a full-time position in the coming season for her.
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