Jennifer King continues to make history. In January, she became the first Black woman to become a full-time assistant coach with the National Football League (NFL), working with the Washington Football Team (WFT).
Her appointment was roundly praised, particularly by WFT running backs coach Randy Jordan, for her deep understanding of the game.
“It’s really helped me in terms of seeing the game in a different view…When we first started, I leaned on her a lot in terms of the terminology and the different things,” Jordan said at the time. “Then, the way she’s worked with the guys, she’s just Coach King to us. Her input throughout the game, there are things I may not see, and she’ll point it out to me…Her input is very, very important not only to me, but to the entire staff. She’s been doing a heck of a job.”
King has chalked another first in NFL. On Tuesday, she became the first Black woman to be a lead position coach in an NFL game after stepping in as the running backs coach of WFT. Her promotion to deputize for Jordan was occasioned by a COVID-19 outbreak in the team.
She is currently one of the only two full-time female assistant coaches in the league, along with assistant defensive line coach Lori Locust in Tampa Bay, the New York Post reports.
King fell in love with NFL at a super young age. She watched the league with her dad and went to high school games on Friday nights.
“I just fell in love with it. I was fortunate enough to start playing tackle football around 22, and played for many years as a quarterback,” she said on “On Her Turf,” an NBC program highlighting women in sports.
As she went for the games, King knew she wanted to become a coach, and ultimately, through hard work and a few other spots, she ended up in the NFL.
She has in previous interviews described how important being the first full-time Black female assistant coach is to her. For her, it does not only make her a good role model but it is a symbol of representation.
“I think it’s important to have diversity in football as it’s important to have diversity everywhere. There’s so many different points of view and backgrounds, and people bring different ideas to the table that are important. It was interesting to see so many playoff teams last season had women involved on their staff,” she told “On Her Turf.”
During her 12 years as a player, from 2006-17, King, 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.
Before Washington, King made her coaching debut as an intern with the Carolina Panthers in 2018.