Jennifer King Becomes First Black Woman to Coach in NFL

By Terrance Turner

Jan. 30, 2021

This week, the Washington Football Team promoted intern Jennifer King to full-time assistant running bacs coach. This makes King the first Black woman to land a full-time coaching position in the league. She is the first Black female assistant coach in the NFL.

King, 36, understands the significance of her promotion. “Representation means so much,” she told ESPN. “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.”

King has a long history in athletics. According to the Washington Post, she was a two-sport athlete at Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina. She finished her career 3rd on the team’s all-time scoring list, with 1,601 points. She also played softball there.

After graduating, King became an assistant coach for Greensboro College. She helped lead their women’s basketball team to five regular-season conference titles during her 10-year tenure. (She served in her role from 2006 to 2016, according to ESPN.) She also played quarterback and wide receiver for the Carolina Phoenix in the Women’s Football Alliance from 2006 to 2017.

King then served as head coach for the Johnson and Wales women’s basketball team from 2016-2018, per ESPN. From 2018-2019, King led the Johnson and Wales team to a national championship, was named the U.S. Collegiate Athletic Association’s coach of the year, and interned for the Carolina Panthers. King says she was inspired to coach in the NFL by Katie Sowers, who served as a training assistant for the Atlanta Falcons in 2016. (Sowers spent four seasons as offensive assistant for the San Francisco 49ers before leaving this month. She became the first woman ever to coach in a Super Bowl when the 49ers played that game last year.)

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