Target: Kathryn Smith, Buffalo Bills Special Teams Quality Control Coach
Goal: Celebrate the hiring of the NFL’s first ever full-time female coach as a win for women’s representation in professional sports.
For the first time, a woman will be a full-time member of a National Football League coaching staff. The Buffalo Bills have made history by naming Kathryn Smith the special teams quality control coach. Woman have been making strides in the sporting world, and Smith’s accomplishment represents yet another victory for gender equality.
The NFL has demonstrated a progressive approach, as seen when Jen Welter became the first female coach in NFL history with the Arizona Cardinals. Welter’s position, however, was only temporary, whereas Smith’s is permanent and full-time. “[Smith] has proven that she’s ready for the next step,” Bills coach Rex Ryan said in a statement. “I’m excited and proud for her with this opportunity.”
Smith’s promotion is not just a calculated public relations move. She brings over a decade of experience to the position. Smith worked as a game-day and special events intern for the New York Jets in 2003, then became a college scouting intern in 2005. She teamed up with Ryan (then coach of the Jets) in 2007 as a player personnel assistant and followed him to Buffalo, where she was Ryan’s administrative assistant. Smith also worked as a student manager for the St. John’s University men’s basketball team.
“There is a stigma that females are not as good as or as strong of coaches as their male counterparts,” said Erika True, the head coach of women’s soccer at Indiana State University. The numbers support this claim–about 90% of college coaches in women’s sports were women in 1972, but that figure has dropped to just 40% in 2015, lending credence to True’s comments.
Nevertheless, Smith’s hiring is a major step in the right direction. Her promotion comes after years of hard work, and her success will serve as an inspiration to future females coaches. Sign the petition below to congratulate Kathryn Smith on her accomplishments and wish her well in her future endeavors.
Dear Coach Smith,
I am writing to congratulate you on your new position as a coach for the Buffalo Bills. The world of professional football, and professional sports in general, is dominated by men, but your promotion is an enormous victory for female representation in the National Football League. This recognition is richly deserved after your years of hard work, and you have become a role model to your fellow female coaches as well as equality advocates around the world.
Your new role is proof that women are just as capable as men when it comes to developing and mentoring athletes. This move is not simply a calculated public relations scheme to generate goodwill. The Bills coaching staff truly believes that your knowledge and insight will improve the team. I’m sure that you will validate their faith as you continue to move up the coaching ladder. Once again, congratulations.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Idibri