49ers coach Katie Sowers is getting one of her wishes, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have become the first team to have two full-time female coaches on their staff.
Maral Javadifar will serve as the Buccaneers’ assistant strength and conditioning coach, while Lori Locust will be their assistant defensive line coach. They join Sowers as the only full-time female coaches employed in the NFL.
“I don’t know that I feel a responsibility,” Sowers said a few weeks ago in Indianapolis. “I just feel a passion, and that’s not just for women. It’s for anyone who has a dream -- and that can kind of sound like a Miss America answer -- but anyone that has a dream and feels like there’s a barrier because of the societal blinders that we put on.”
Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians gave a statement via the team’s website.
"I know how hard it can be to get that first opportunity to coach at the highest level of professional football," Arians said. "Sometimes, all you need is the right organization to offer up the opportunity.
"The Glazer family and our general manager, Jason Licht, were extremely supportive of my decision, and I know Maral and Lori will be great additions to my coaching staff."
Sowers expressed being tired of hearing about coaching internships when she spoke to NBC Sports Bay Area at the Women’s Careers in Football Forum. More than 40 women participated in the program in Indianapolis prior to the NFL Scouting Combine.
“I want to get to a day,” Sowers said, “where I’m not hearing women asking how many internships do I have to do because I can’t provide for my family.”
Arians was joined by Ravens coach John Harbaugh, Bills coach Sean McDermott, and Panthers coach Ron Rivera in front of the group and answered questions regarding how to facilitate employment in the NFL.
Arians is known as being a maverick in hiring a diverse staff. He hired Jen Welter as a training camp intern with the Arizona Cardinals in 2015, making her the first woman to hold a coaching position in the NFL.
After the forum in Indianapolis, Arians stated that he had plans to create a full-time position for a woman on his staff. He kept his word, and then went even further by bringing in two.
Locust was previously the defensive line coach for the AAF team the Birmingham Iron as well as a coaching intern for the Baltimore Ravens during training camp.