Admin becomes first female NFL coach

On Jan. 20, the Buffalo Bills made history when they hired Kathryn Smith as a special teams quality control coach. Smith is the first full-time female coach in NFL history. She previously served as the administrative assistant to Bills’ head coach Rex Ryan. Before her time with the Bills, Smith worked for the New York Jets for 12 years, writes ESPN’s Mike Rodak.

“Kathryn has been working in a football administrative role and assisted the assistant coaches for years,” Ryan said in a statement. “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.

Smith is replacing Michael Ham­­lin, the previous special teams quality control coach. The Bills an­­nounced he would not return in early January.    

Several NFL teams have hired women in the past. In 1986, the Bills hired Linda Bogdan as a scout, another groundbreaking moment in NFL history. In 1977, the Raiders hired Amy Trask as their chief executive officer. She held the position un­­til 2013.

Last season, the New York Jets promoted Jac­­queline David­­­­­­son from the team’s manager of football administration to director of football administration.

However, Smith’s pro­­motion is the next step for women who want to join the coaching ranks of North America’s professional sports teams. Teams like the Seattle Mari­­ners, who have hired a female scout, the first full-time scout by a major league team since the 1950s.

— Adapted from “Kathryn Smith hired by Bills as NFL’s first female full-time coach,” Mike Rodak, ESPN.