Ashli Nicole Coggins
On Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2016, the Buffalo Bills hired Kathryn Smith as the Quality Control Special Teams Coach. Smith is the first female to be hired as a coach in NFL history.
The upcoming football season will be Smith’s 14th season in the NFL. She began her career in the NFL with the New York Jets as the game day and special events intern. Since then, Smith has worked in several positions such as college scout intern and player personnel assistant.
Smith began working under Rex Ryan, head coach of the Buffalo Bills in 2014. Ryan released a statement regarding Smith, which said, “Kathryn Smith is going to do an outstanding job based on her knowledge and strong commitment. I’m excited and proud for her with this opportunity.”
Smith’s new position has sparked many mixed vibes among NFL viewers. Some people agree that she deserves her position, while others are skeptical of her ability to successfully do her job.
Jamia Webber, a freshmen communicative disorders major from West Point, Miss. said, “If she knows the game, then yeah, it’s a great decision. Women are always belittled and selected for few jobs. She just needs to perform well, as if she were a man, and show people that women are very capable of being coaches.”
From a player’s perspective, many feel that the response received from players will differ than that of a male coach. Javancy Jones, a football player and junior education major from Macon, Miss. said, “No! I don’t think the players will fully listen to her when it comes down to it but then again we live in a world where whatever a man can do, a woman can do it also! So, I say give her a chance, but one mess up and she should go back to cooking!”
Smith, however, is confident in her new position as a coach. In an Interview with Chris Brown, Bills Insider, she said, “My goal in this role is to do whatever I can to help the team win.”
Despite the responses of many people on this issue, one fact remains the same. Smith has made history as a female coach in the NFL. For many people, Smith’s role is used as inspiration for social equality in today’s society.
Kendall Bunch, a junior accounting major from Olive Branch, Miss. spoke on Smith’s role in making history. Bunch said,” I honestly believe that as we continue to progress more, young ladies will be put in positions such as these. It will receive a lot of criticism from males; but I think it’s great that she has been given a chance to prove herself just as every other coach does and now she has that opportunity. I wish her the best and I look forward to seeing what she can do.”
Smith replaces Michael Hamlin as quality control and special teams coach.