6 Things to Know About the NFL's First Female Coach, Jen Welter
Here's what you need to know about the inspiring woman who just broke down a huge sports barrier for women.
In case you haven't heard, there's some (long overdue) good news coming from the NFL: Jen Welter has been hired by the Arizona Cardinals, making her the first (and long overdue) female coach in the history of the league.
Welter, who's played more than 14 years of football herself, will be a training-camp/preseason intern coaching inside linebackers. From there, she'll hopefully move into a permanent spot — and, heck, eventually into a head coaching position. Why not? Welter clearly knows her stuff and she now joins a small but strong group of women who coach men in the pros (Becky Hammon coaches the San Antonio Spurs).
“Coaching is nothing more than teaching,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said on the team's site. “One thing I have learned from players is, ‘How are you going to make me better? If you can make me better, I don’t care if you’re the Green Hornet, man, I’ll listen.’ I really believe she’ll have a great opportunity with this internship through training camp to open some doors."
Welter is, of course, pumped as well and celebrated the milestone with other women. She tweeted Monday: "S/o to all the women who love & play football. I want to share this moment w/ you! Ladies, anything is possible! #nfl"
We'll be rooting for Welter as training camp goes on, and, in the meantime, here's what you should know about our #WomanCrushWednesday pick.
She's an experienced football player.
At 37, Welter has spent over 14 years playing on several women's semi-pro football teams. She mostly played with the Dallas Diamonds in the Women's Football Alliance. She won four championships with the team. She also won the gold medal with Team USA at the International Federation of American Football's Women's World Championship in 2010 and 2013.
Welter also played one game at running back for the Texas Revolution, a pro indoor football league team. She's the first woman to play a non-kicking position in a pro game.
She's coached too.
Welter, who was born in Florida, became the linebackers and specials teams coach for the Texas Revoluion in 2015.
She has a PhD.
The combination of her athletic skills and knowledge combined with the fact that she's extremely book-smart should make for a dynamite combination on the sidelines. Welter graduated from Boston College and has a master's degree in sports psychology. On top of that, she has a PhD in psychology from Capella University. Yes, that's Dr. Welter, to you.
She's a cover girl.
No, not the Revlon kind. (Though she certainly could be.) Welter had the front page spot of the LA Times sports section Wednesday, beating out the Brady/Deflategate story for top billing. How 'bout that?
She's an inspiration to women everywhere.
Welter has been receiving tons of congratulatory messages and press since the announcement. She's gotten Twitter shout outs from Hillary Clinton, Danica Patrick, and countless other women (and men too). We especially love this tweet from an awesome dad:
She saved her first pro paycheck.
It was for a mere $12, but Welter saved the check as a reminder of how much it meant to her to play football. She had the check in purse when she was introduced as the Cardinals' coach Tuesday.
“I didn’t start playing football to be here,” Welter said (via ESPN). “The beauty of this, while it wasn’t a dream I could have ever had, now it’s a dream other girls can grow up having.”
Check back next week for Livingly's new #WomanCrushWednesday pick.