Katie Sowers, San Francisco 49ers
With the San Francisco 49ers recent Super Bowl appearance, Katie Sowers has operated in the spotlight of late. Given her work this season, the recognition she is receiving is much-deserved.
Though the 49ers fell short of their Super Bowl bid against the Kansas City Chiefs, Sowers put her name on the map.
The 2019 season was a success for the 49ers for a number of reasons, including the promotion of Sowers to the coaching staff prior to the start of the season.
The 33-year-old originally came over to the organization in 2016 as a seasonal offensive assistant. She previously worked as an internal scout with the Atlanta Falcons.
Her work and impact did not go unnoticed as she was promoted to an offensive assistant coach by head coach Kyle Shanahan after only two seasons.
Sowers joins Kelsey Martinez of the Oakland Raiders and Phoebe Schecter of the Buffalo Bills to form a growing group of women coaches who hold full-time positions in the NFL.
Despite the momentum being built for women in the NFL, Sowers recognizes that the progress needs to continue. In an interview with Market Watch, Sowers describes her goal for the future of women coaches in the NFL:
"“We find it so odd when women lead men, but women have been teaching men for years. We have to normalize it.”"
In addition to being a pioneer as a female coach, she is also the first openly gay coach in NFL history. In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Sowers highlighted the importance of bringing diversity to the job:
"“No matter what you do in life, one of the most important things is to be true to who you are. There are so many people who identify as LGBT in the NFL, as in any business, that do not feel comfortable being public about their sexual orientation. The more we can create an environment that welcomes all types of people, no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, the more we can help ease the pain and burden that many carry every day.”"
Sowers’ career is just getting started, and the 49ers on-field success this past season was due in part to her role on offense.
While Nakken and Sowers play a role on their team’s respective coaching staff, Chelsea Lane played an equally important role, albeit one that may have gone a bit unnoticed.