On Wednesday, the Buffalo Bills announced the hiring of Kathryn Smith as the team's special teams quality control coach, becoming the first full-time female coach in NFL history.
Over the summer, the Arizona Cardinals hired Jen Welter as their assistant coach for inside linebackers. Welter's time with the organization came to an end when training camp was over. The move was a step in the right direction, but there was still more that could be done.
After starting off as a game day/special events intern and a college scouting intern when Rex Ryan served as the New York Jets head coach, Smith became a player personnel assistant. It was a position she held for seven seasons. In Rex's final year with the Jets and first season with the Bills, Kathryn was an administrative assistant to the head coach.
"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," Ryan said in a statement. "She will work with [special teams coordinator] Danny Crossman and [special teams assistant] Eric Smith involving a number of responsibilities."
“I consulted with Bruce Arians on this since he was really the first NFL head coach to make this kind of move when he hired a female linebackers coach through the summer," Rex added. "You can see the success some of these young ladies are having in the coaching profession, such as the young lady that is an assistant to Coach (Greg) Popovich at the San Antonio Spurs [Becky Hammon], and realize how exciting this is for women like Kathryn Smith as well as the Bills organization.”
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[via Pro Football Talk]