The NFL is making progress in the realm of diversity, making history in 2015 when the Arizona Cardinals hired a woman as part of their coaching staff. The New York Jets followed suit last month with the announcement that Collette Smith will join the team for the summer in a coaching role.
Smith, 44, is a lifelong fan of the Jets and current coach for the Independent Women’s Football League’s New York Sharks. A Queens, New York native, Smith is also a marketing executive for the women’s squad. Her access to the Jets’ practice field gave Smith the opportunity to become friendly with head coach Todd Bowles, who introduced the defensive backs to her. After shadowing the team, she was asked to work in an intern coaching role.
Smith, who will be working with the defensive backs, has a slight link to the NFL’s first female coaching hire, Jen Welter. Welter was hired by Coach Bowles’ mentor, Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians. She says she hopes that one day, the hire of a woman on the sidelines won’t be big news but is glad to be carrying the torch for women hopeful for a similar opportunity.
PHOTO: NY Jets
The Ten Most Interesting Little Known Black History Facts
1. The 6888th Battalion was the largest all Black female military unit in World War 2.Source:U.S. Department of Defense, Public Domain 1 of 10
2. The Fultz quadruplets were the first surviving identical African-American quads.Source:Library of Congress/Public Domain 2 of 10
3. The Muse BrothersSource:Public Domain 3 of 10
4. Gerald LawsonSource:Wikipedia/Fair Use 4 of 10
5. Frederick JonesSource:Minnesota Historical Society 5 of 10
6. Sarah RectorSource:Public Domain 6 of 10
7. Sarah BaartmanSource:Public Domain 7 of 10
8. Philippa SchuylerSource:Library of Congress, Public Domain 8 of 10
9. Millie and Christine McKoySource:John H. Fitzgibbon (Collection of Robert E. Green) Public Domain 9 of 10
10. Leonard NimoySource:PR Photos 10 of 10