Jennifer King: This opens the door for future female coaches

USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a great start to 2021 for women. Kamala Harris became the first woman vice president, the first Black vice president and the first Asian vice president.

On Monday night, Natalie Sago and Jenna Schroeder became the first women to work on the same NBA officiating crew. Sarah Thomas will become the first woman to officiate a Super Bowl.

Bucs assistant defensive line coach Lori Locust, the first woman to hold a full-time coaching position in the NFL, will coach in a Super Bowl.

And, earlier this week, the Washington Football Team announced it has promoted Jennifer King to assistant running backs coach. It makes King the first Black woman to hold a full-time coaching position in the NFL.

“I didn’t have anyone that looked anything like me working,” King said Wednesday, via
Nicki Jhabvala of The Washington Post. “To be able to see that, I think, is big. I think it’s super cool to be a part of this and just keep doing a good job.”

Running back J.D. McKissic simply sees King as “coach.”

“I always thought she was already the assistant coach,” McKissic said. “She played a pretty good role in my success. . . . She helped me take that next step. It was just the little things like giving me a pregame workout, things that she did with [Christian] McCaffrey in the past in Carolina. She was able to bring that to Washington and push me in those types of ways.”

King credits Katie Sowers for laying the ground work to help her get the job she has now. Sowers served as an offensive assistant for the 49ers for four seasons before parting ways this month.

“I think it’s so important just to open up the entire pool of applicants when you have a position,” King said. “So far, historically in football, it’s only essentially 50 percent of the pool. No women are ever considered. I think for future female coaches coming up, this kind of gets their foot in the door. It’s up to us to do a good job.”