Rex Ryan is notorious for making headlines — and let’s be honest: usually, there’s controversy involved. However, in a miraculous turn of events, this time he’s grabbing everyone’s attention for a positive reason.
On Wednesday, the Buffalo Pills PR team announced that the franchise has officially promoted and hired Kathryn Smith to be the team’s special teams quality coach, making her the NFL’s first full-time female coach.
— Buffalo Bills PR (@BuffaloBillsPR) January 21, 2016
Previous to her role change within the organization, Smith served as the administrative assistant to Rex.
Smith’s hiring is a major breakthrough for mainstreaming the implementation of female employment to the NFL in regards to football operations. While the league has suffered plenty of black eyes this season, the hiring of Sarah Thomas as its first full-time referee and the Cardinals bringing in Jen Welter to be a training camp coach intern were already two great examples of the NFL providing opportunities to unprecedented candidates. Smith’s full-time employment is the next step, and whether people want to admit or not: it opens the proverbial flood gates of confidence for women to apply for positions within professional football (and all sports for that matter) which they may not have had in the past.
In addition to Becky Hammond being given the reins to the San Antonio Spurs’ Summer League team (where she won the championship) and a spot on Gregg Popovich’s bench + Nancy Lieberman’s hiring by the Sacramento Kings to be a part of the coaching staff, it has truly been a memorable year for women in professional sports management.