Opinions & Features Success Story Women January 28, 2021 at 09:00 am

From intern to first Black woman full-time coach in NFL, meet Jennifer King

Ama Nunoo January 28, 2021 at 09:00 am

January 28, 2021 at 09:00 am | Opinions & Features, Success Story, Women

Jennifer King tosses a ball on the field ahead of the Washington Football Team's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on January 9, 2021 in Landover, Md. Photo: Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports via Reuters

Black women are made of gold and Jennifer King is made of that and more. She is a football history and a shining example to all the little Black girls who dare to dream. King is now the first-ever Black woman to get a full-time coaching job in the NFL. The Washington Football Team on Tuesday added King to their roster as assistant running backs coach.

This announcement comes off the back of her internship during the 2020 off-season at the Washington Football Team under head coach Ron Rivera and running backs coach Randy Jordan.

According to Rivera, nobody is more deserving of this promotion than King because aside from her experience playing football for 12 years, she always puts in the hard work and can connect well with everyone on the team with her excellent communication skills.

“She demonstrated all of the qualities that are needed to work full-time on my staff. She is a hard worker, a great communicator, and a quality person. Coach King is always eager to learn and has shown tremendous growth since starting here last season.”

“Coach King is well deserving of the promotion,” Rivera added. “She earned this opportunity with her hard work. The sky is truly the limit for her.”

Aside from spending time interning in the offseason with the Carolina Panthers in 2018 and 2019, King also worked with the Arizona Hotshots of the AAF in 2019 as an assistant WRs coach and was an offensive assistant at Dartmouth that same year. “I am very pleased to have Coach King back to assist me full-time in the running backs room,” RBs coach Jordan said.

He also reiterated what head coach Rivers said and went on to praise King’s work ethic. “She was extremely helpful last year in seeing the game from a different perspective, and she was a tremendous communicator in our room. I look forward to continuing to collaborate as we move forward in our program and as she moves forward in her coaching career,” he added.

During her 12 years as a player, from 2006-17, King, 36, was a seven-time All-American quarterback, receiver, and safety and with two national championships under her belt with the Carolina Phoenix and New York Sharks, according to NFL.com.

There is a new movement in NFL for women coaching and King is at the helm of this wave together with the first woman to be appointed assistant coach, Lori Locust, who was made the assistant defensive line coach for Tampa Bay in March 2019.

King, Locust and assistant strength and conditioning coach Maral Javadifar made history as the first female coaches to face off during a playoff game. The three were among a record six female coaches on teams to play in the post-season, BBC said.

In a statement on the Washington Football Team website, King said: “It’s a direct testament to those coaches who are forward thinking and opening up the entire pool when they’re looking for people, to hire people to make their programmes better.

“I don’t think it’s an oddity that those play-off teams had so many female coaches involved because those coaches created cultures of growth and inclusion, and those things generally create wins,” King, who also has experience coaching basketball, added.

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