So love this girl.
On July 27th, 2015, Jen Welter began pioneering the final frontier for women in sports. Welter was hired as an assistant coach for the Arizona Cardinals. She is the first woman to ever hold a coaching position in the NFL. While she joins a small group of females at the top of the coaching world in America, in the NFL, she is in a league of her own.
But this isn’t anything new for Jen.
Welter was a football player for 14 seasons and was the first woman to play a non-kicking position in the Indoor Football League in 2014. Jen does football, and she does it well. It should also come as no surprise that it was the Arizona Cardinals who were willing to make history with the hire. Head Coach Bruce Arians isn’t cut from the typical conservative NFL coach, he’s a bit more outgoing and willing to make a splash. It was the perfect fit for the NFL’s first woman female coach.
As excited as Welter is about her opportunity to begin her coaching career she is just as excited for what this means for the future of women in coaching: “My opportunity could create other opportunities, and I love everything about that.” Talk about a class act. But this isn’t just a publicity stunt, Jen knows her way around the pigskin – with 14 years of playing experience, she has more than many coaches already in the league, a lot more! She is the perfect candidate to break this ground and make another powerful step in the right direction for women in sports.
Welter’s hiring comes on the heels over Becky Hammon’s hiring in the NBA last year. Hammon was the first ever full-time coaching hire in one of the big 4 American sports (MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL). After leading the Spurs to the NBA summer league title as their head coach, Hammon has already proven that women clearly belong in the major coaching ranks and should be given just as much opportunity as any man with an equal resume. In fact, there are already whispers that Becky Hammon will become the first female head coach as people take notice of her hardcourt prowess.
It will be incredibly exciting to see Jen Welter roaming the sidelines as an NFL coach and while it is an important opportunity for her, it is also an important opportunity for women. She will set the bar for women working in the NFL, her every move and decision heavily scrutinized – far beyond what any other inside linebackers coach has ever seen. But the beauty of that, is that when she does well, she will pave the path for more women to follow her and make their mark on what has always been known as “The Man’s Sport”.