Kathryn Smith, a Buffalo Bills staff member, has been named the first full-time female coach in the NFL, serving as the special teams quality control coach for the New York team.
The announcement comes less than year after Jen Welter was appointed a part-time training camp assistant coach with the Arizona Cardinals, NFL.com reported
"Kathryn Smith has done an outstanding job in the seven years that she has worked with our staff," said Ryan, who previous served as head coach of the New York Jets. "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."
Smith began her NFL stint in 2003 as a game day/special events intern with the New York Jets. She became a college scouting intern in 2005 before being promoted to player personnel assistant in 2007. She was selected as assistant to the head coach in 2014, according to the Bills.
"Kathryn has been working in a football administrative role and assisted the assistant coaches for years," Ryan said in his 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 [special teams coordinator] and Eric Smith [special teams assistant] involving a number of responsibilities."
Ryan said in his statement that he talked with Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians about Welter's experiences, and he also pointed out the success of Becky Hammons, who has been an assistant coach with the NBA's San Antonio Spurs since 2014
"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," Ryan said.
Bills offensive lineman Richie Incognito took to Twitter to share his support for Smith.
National Public Radio stated that this marks the second time
the Bills have broken the gender barrier in the NFL. In 1986, the team hired Linda Bogdan as the league's first female scout in the team's personnel department.
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