Throughout its 101-year history, the NFL has never had a Black female coach on its roster – that is until last month. On Jan. 26, Jennifer King was named Washington Football Team’s newest, full-time running backs coach.
“Representation means so much,” she said in an interview with ESPN. “It’s really important right now to be a good representative, what I didn’t have growing up. I didn’t have anyone that looked anything like me working. To be able to see that, I think, is big. It’s super cool to be a part of this.”
In addition to becoming the first Black female assistant coach in the NFL, King also joins Lori Locust of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the second female coach to have a full-time position in the League’s history.
Football All Day, Everyday
Before embarking on her professional journey to becoming an NFL coach, King played the game herself. She started as a quarterback and wide receiver for the Carolina Phoenix women’s tackle team, where she earned the All-American title seven times. She has also played for the New York Sharks and D.C. Divas women’s tackle teams.
In 2018, King joined the Carolina Panthers as an intern to the wide receivers coaching staff. During this time, she assisted Wide Receivers Coach Lance Taylor with on-field development drills and position meetings. She continued to work with the team into 2019 while also serving as an assistant wide receivers coach and special teams assistant to the Arizona Hotshots.
In 2020, the Washington Football Team hired King as a full-year coaching intern. She worked closely with the offensive coaching staff throughout the year and running back J.D. McKissic. He finished the regular season with the second-highest number of receptions in the team’s history.
“I always thought she was already the assistant coach,” McKissic said in an interview with the Washington Post. “She played a pretty good role in my success. She helped me take that next step.”
The Future Is Female
If one thing is for sure, King and the rest of the female coaches in the League do their job, and they do it well. When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers went against Washington in a postseason game last month, it was the first time that two playoff teams had female coaches supporting them from the sidelines.
“I really think it’s a direct testament to forward-thinking coaches opening up their minds to the entire pool of applicants for jobs,” King said on “NFL Total Access”. “I think these forward-thinking coaches have created cultures with sustained winning and ultimately they’ve made the playoffs now.”
Mia is a recent graduate of Penn State and an aspiring writer. When she is not writing for RoyalTee Magazine, she enjoys listening to music, learning graphic design, and reading.