Buffalo Bills Hire Kathryn Smith to Be First Full-Time Female NFL Coach
Well, the Buffalo Bills certainly have made some big coaching hires in the aftermath of their 8-8 season.
First they named Rob Ryan the “assistant head coach for defense.” Then they named Ed Reed “assistant defensive backs coach.” And now they’ve gone and made history by naming Kathryn Smith the “special teams quality control coach”—and, of course, the first ever full-time female NFL coach.
Smith has 14 years of NFL experience. She began her career as a gameday/special events intern with the New York Jets back in 2003. In 2005 she became a college scouting intern, and in 2007 she was promoted to player personnel assistant. Finally, in 2014 Smith was named the Jets’ assistant to the head coach, and in 2015 she came with Rex Ryan to Buffalo and held the same position.
“Kathryn has been working in a football administrative role and assisted the assistant coaches for years,” said Ryan in his official 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 Danny Crossman and Eric Smith involving a number of responsibilities.”
— Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) January 21, 2016
The Arizona Cardinals made history last summer when they hired Jenn Welter as an assistant linebackers coach on a temporary basis. For that reason, Ryan says he spoke with Cardinals coach Bruce Arians before deciding to go ahead and promote Smith.
“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. 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 (Gregg) Popovich at the San Antonio Spurs, and realize how exciting this is for women like Kathryn Smith as well as the Bills organization.”
Smith’s position is obviously at the very bottom of the coaching pyramid. But you’ve got to start somewhere, and she can still say for the first time that she is an NFL coach.
Hat Tip – [Buffalo Bills]