This marks only the second time in NFL history a woman has become a full-time coaching assistant.
Katie Sowers was only supposed to intern with the San Francisco 49ers as an offensive assistant until the clock hit triple zeroes on their first preseason game, but now she’ll remain on the staff for at least the rest of the season, as the 49ers have decided to retain her.
She made the announcement on her Facebook page, and gives credit to former NFL GM Scott Piolo for helping her get a chance to begin her journey into the NFL. Pioli is currently assistant general manager of the Atlanta Falcons, which is where Sowers got her start last year.
Sowers has worked primarily on offense, under Mike LaFleur and Kyle Shanahan, who were both with the Falcons last year and 49ers this year. Obviously they like her ability as a coach enough to bring her over 2,000 miles from Atlanta to Santa Clara.
When asked by the Mercury News when Sowers was originally brought onto the 49ers, Shanahan had this to say:
“Because of what she did in Atlanta, we’d love her to be here. She helps out. She’s good in the room. It helps her because she learns, too. But I like hearing Katie’s opinion. She does a good job for us.”
Sowers came to the 49ers as part of the Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowship, an initiative by the NFL to give aspiring minority coaches a chance to get real coaching experience. Some of the programs most successful graduates include Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Marvin Lewis of the Cincinnati Bengals.
She is the first female coach in 49ers history, and the second full-time female assistant coach in NFL history, preceded only by Kathryn Smith, who the Buffalo Bills hired in 2016. However, as the Bills did not retain Smith through their coaching change, Sowers has a chance to be the longest serving female assistant coach in history should the 49ers decide to keep her around past the 2017 season.
Regardless of how long she stays with the 49ers, Katie Sowers has already made history in the NFL, and will look to keep doing so.