Skip to content

Bills announce appointment of Kathryn Smith to assistant coaching role

getPart

The move happened on Tuesday, with no fanfare. The Bills reported to the league office, which then informed the other 31 teams of it on Wednesday, an addition to the coaching staff: Kathryn Smith, Quality Control-Special Teams.

No announcement was issued by the Bills on Tuesday. It wasn’t until after PFT broke the news of the move, from a source unattached to the Bills, that the team made the official declaration.

“Kathryn Smith has done an outstanding job in the seven years that she has worked with our staff,” coach Rex Ryan said in a press release issued Wednesday night by the Bills. “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.”

It’s a low-level job, but it’s a full-time position with an opportunity to advance.

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

Ryan explained, before making the move, he talked to the coach who was the first man to make a female a member of his staff.

“I consulted with [Cardinals coach] 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,” Ryan said, in reference to Jen Welter. “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, and realize how exciting this is for women like Kathryn Smith as well as the Bills organization.”

As more women become assistant coaches, more will believe that they can coach, at every level. And more male coaches will give them the opportunity to do it. With more female football coaches entering the profession in high school and college football, inevitably some will demonstrate the skill, work ethic, and other qualities needed to thrive at the highest stage of the sport.

The fact that the Bills treated the move like any other assistant-coaching hire also is encouraging. They weren’t looking for publicity or slaps on the back. They simply wanted to entrust the job to someone they believed could do it, regardless of gender.

Permalink 39 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Buffalo Bills, Home, Rumor Mill
39 Responses to “Bills announce appointment of Kathryn Smith to assistant coaching role”
  1. theneedforspeeed says: Jan 20, 2016 10:13 PM

    Nice!

  2. byrnestj7 says: Jan 20, 2016 10:24 PM

    Good move hope she does well

  3. ttommytom says: Jan 20, 2016 10:30 PM

    Rex just created a pretty cool legacy.

    We all love women.

    It’s about time…

  4. joetoronto says: Jan 20, 2016 10:34 PM

    That’s it. This should be the move what gets the stench of losing washed off. That’s what’s been missing for 16 years.

  5. Packernet says: Jan 20, 2016 10:40 PM

    Great job PFT!

  6. tootitan says: Jan 20, 2016 10:49 PM

    Kudos to Rex and the Bills organization for making an enlightened move and not making a big deal of it.

    And kudos to you for that last paragraph.

  7. selgaeinla says: Jan 20, 2016 11:08 PM

    Boy its tough to hate ole Rex today.

  8. vottorific says: Jan 20, 2016 11:11 PM

    What a great story. Kudos to Florio and Ryan.

  9. mcjon22 says: Jan 20, 2016 11:22 PM

    “She has great footing for the position”

    Rex Ryan

  10. patsfan says: Jan 20, 2016 11:24 PM

    Should have hired her over Rob.

  11. natijim235 says: Jan 20, 2016 11:34 PM

    Rexy says her feet are sexy

  12. unbiasednfltruth says: Jan 20, 2016 11:34 PM

    She’s got a great set of toes on them feet.

  13. edithpiaf51 says: Jan 20, 2016 11:41 PM

    That is awesome that the Bills hired a woman for the position. I see the NFL is breaking the gender barrier. Kudos.

  14. minnesotablizzard says: Jan 21, 2016 12:28 AM

    If she can offer a unique and insightful perspective, why not?

  15. Angry Angler says: Jan 21, 2016 12:35 AM

    She must have some really great feat!

  16. kelsey59 says: Jan 21, 2016 1:14 AM

    It’s all about the feet.

  17. raider8er says: Jan 21, 2016 1:18 AM

    Awesome. Congratulations.

  18. kuya206 says: Jan 21, 2016 2:20 AM

    Rex hired her cause she probably has nice feet more than anything

  19. jimmysee says: Jan 21, 2016 2:22 AM

    Good for her — it’s a foot in the door. Waytogo, girl!

  20. tazman1996 says: Jan 21, 2016 4:46 AM

    Hey Rex…… Got any positions open for an under 6′ tall, slightly balding construction workers, you know, just so you can show you are being politically correct to all factions? You can name me “Quality Control in Charge of Locker Room Lighting Guy Coach” Whatya say?

  21. hay1111 says: Jan 21, 2016 4:52 AM

    Who is she related to that got her the job?

  22. thetruthstings says: Jan 21, 2016 5:12 AM

    I Don’t like it and I am Not afraid to say it!!! This is a MAN’S GAME!!! Leave us something please!

  23. terrier92 says: Jan 21, 2016 5:48 AM

    Successful organizations identify hire and promote individuals based on ability intellect and merit regardless of sex race age. Kudos to Bills Hope this lady has the right stuff Shows some sticktoitness just to get this far as I’m sure it has not been an easy road for her

  24. tedskins333 says: Jan 21, 2016 6:24 AM

    Smh…

  25. intrafinesse says: Jan 21, 2016 8:24 AM

    What are the duties of a “Quality Control-Special Teams” coach?

  26. intrafinesse says: Jan 21, 2016 8:28 AM

    I find it hard to believe that someone who didn’t play a sport at least at the college level would be better than competing candidates that had in a position that requires evaluating players and performance.

    The female coach that Greg Popvoich hired played basketball professionally, and thus seems qualified. Plus Popovich is a brilliant and highly respected coach, who doesn’t need to resort to stunts to gain publicity. (And I’ll bet he doesn’t want publicity either).
    This on the other hand seems like a PR move. I could be wrong, but it’s Rex Ryan after all, so I assume the worst.

    In any case, good luck to her.

  27. abninf says: Jan 21, 2016 8:30 AM

    The fact that the Bills treated the move like any other assistant-coaching hire also is encouraging.
    ==============================

    What’s discouraging is that you didn’t.

  28. intrafinesse says: Jan 21, 2016 8:33 AM

    It seems like a position that can be learned by someone who hasn’t played football.
    The DenverPost has an article about this type of position:

    The job requires preparing the statistical analysis as well as the initial video study of upcoming opponents. The defensive quality control assistant breaks down opposing offenses, including how often they line up in specific formations and how they use various personnel groupings.

    They chart down-and-distance situations, field position, substitutions, etc., and then gives that report to the team’s defensive staff when they begin their game planning each week during the regular season.

    The offensive quality control assistant would do the same in regard to opposing defenses and then give the reports to the offensive staff.

    The quality control staff has to have their reports done before the rest of the staff begins the game planning for that game.

    It’s a difficult job that requires a grind-it-out work ethic with a detail-oriented approach because the charts have to be correct.

  29. broncodanny says: Jan 21, 2016 8:36 AM

    Finally Rex did the right thing.. Unlike the IK Enkampali disaster… Good job!

  30. catfish252 says: Jan 21, 2016 8:47 AM

    I congratulate Kathryn, what a great accomplishment to be named the first female coach in the NFL. I also congratulate the Bills for having the guts to hire her as a coach, considering there will be many men that will vehemently disagree with their decision.

  31. captainwhodat says: Jan 21, 2016 9:27 AM

    worked as an administrative assistant under Ryan last year (followed him from the Jets)…’nuff said…

  32. genericcommenter says: Jan 21, 2016 10:15 AM

    Isn’t this sorta how Belichick got started? I don’t recall, did he play pro football? It sounds like she’s been around a long time and it’s just a logical promotion to a low level position. It’s not like Rex picked her up at the mall and made her the Offensive Coordinator.

  33. steelerben says: Jan 21, 2016 10:16 AM

    Any fan that really wants their team to win should welcome the hiring of the best person to do the job, regardless of their gender. The caveman talking about it being a man’s game apparently didn’t notice there was a female ref last season and that youth leagues and high school football have plenty of female players.

    The “leave us something” is hilarious. As if making more money, holding most positions of power in the government, media and industry, and being in charge of almost every major religion isn’t enough. Cry me a river.

  34. intrafinesse says: Jan 21, 2016 10:29 AM

    >>Isn’t this sorta how Belichick got started? I don’t recall, did he play pro football? It sounds like she’s been around a long time and it’s just a logical promotion to a low level position. It’s not like Rex picked her up at the mall and made her the Offensive Coordinator.

    Belichick didn’t play pro football but he did play at the college level, and his father was an assistant football coach at the United States Naval Academy, and he spent a lot of time learning from him.

    If she has to prepare game film I’m sure she can do that.
    My concern would be if someone had to instruct players and never played the sport at a high level (at least college).

  35. cfos00 says: Jan 21, 2016 10:40 AM

    The last paragraph was by far the most important. The mark of discrimination disappearing is for things to be treated properly, as they should be. They didn’t have a press release because hiring a low level assistant normally doesn’t require a press release. That’s actual progress. Good on Rex.

  36. jsavage58 says: Jan 21, 2016 10:59 AM

    Rumor is she has to work 100% of the time in flip flops

  37. cuda1234 says: Jan 21, 2016 12:31 PM

    Since the NFLPA already makes its members parade around naked in front of female “reporters”, why not make parading around naked in front of a female boss a condition of employment as well?

    Heck, why not just play the games nude like they did in the greek olympics? Who cares that the players think? (and it would put an end to all the concussion stuff).

  38. midenginerearwheeldrive says: Jan 21, 2016 5:54 PM

    A person who reviews video of other teams and then prepares reports and data for the coaches/coordinators to use, but doesn’t really have any real interaction with the actual players on the actual practice field.

    Isn’t the term ‘coach’ a bit generous for anyone in this position?

    I would think ‘assistant’ or ‘analyst’ would be more apropos.

  39. midenginerearwheeldrive says: Jan 21, 2016 6:05 PM

    intrafinesse says:
    Jan 21, 2016 10:29 AM
    >>Isn’t this sorta how Belichick got started? I don’t recall, did he play pro football? It sounds like she’s been around a long time and it’s just a logical promotion to a low level position. It’s not like Rex picked her up at the mall and made her the Offensive Coordinator.

    Belichick didn’t play pro football but he did play at the college level, and his father was an assistant football coach at the United States Naval Academy, and he spent a lot of time learning from him.

    If she has to prepare game film I’m sure she can do that.
    My concern would be if someone had to instruct players and never played the sport at a high level (at least college).
    _____

    Even if she has to prepare film only (and not actually coach actual players) doesn’t her lack of experience playing or coaching the game of football concern fans? Those who played the game and/or coached it can review, analyze and see things that others just can’t.

    Listen to any number of analysts in every NFL market reviewing games/plays and you’ll learn something. They see things that we don’t based on their real world experience. Same goes for other sports. I learn something about baseball overtime Orel Herscheiser speaks. I learn something about hockey from Eddie Olczyk during every Blackhawks’ broadcast.

    That would be my concern of the choosing of her over another candidate. Again, she is replacing someone who is an actual ex-NFL player.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!