NFL Hires First Ever Full-Time Female Coach

The NFL has their first ever full time female coach! Last Wednesday the Buffalo Bills made history by naming Kathryn Smith as their special teams quality control coach. She will replace Michael Hamlin, a former NFL player, who the Bills announced earlier this month would not be returning to the coaching staff. Her duties will include helping to run the special teams scout team at practice, breaking down film, and assisting the special teams coordinator Danny Crossman on game days.

Smith began her career in the NFL when she joined the New York Jets as a game-day/special events intern in 2003. In 2005 she was named a college scouting intern and in 2007 she became a player personnel assistant. She held that position for seven years before becoming an assistant to Head Coach Rex Ryan in his final season with the Jets. She held that same role this past year under Ryan in Buffalo before her recent promotion.

"Kathryn Smith has done an outstanding job in the seven years that she has worked with our staff," Ryan said in a statement to ESPN. "She certainly deserves this promotion based on her knowledge and strong commitment, just to name a couple of her outstanding qualities, and I just know she's going to do a great job serving in the role of Quality Control-Special Teams.”

This is not the first time the Bills have broken the gender barrier, as they were also the first team to have a female professional scout when they hired Linda Bogdan in 1986. Although there are many women who hold prominent roles in NFL management, Smith’s promotion is a major step for women who want to join the coaching ranks of a North American professional sports team.