Katie Sowers, the National Football League’s only current female coach, is also its only openly gay coach.
Last week, a San Francisco 49ers team spokesman confirmed that Sowers, a 2004 graduate of Hesston High School in Kansas, had been hired as a full-time assistant coach. In a Facebook message sent on Aug. 17, Sowers said her title is “seasonal offensive assistant.”
In an interview published by SB Nation’s Outsports on Tuesday, Sowers came out, saying that it’s important to be “true to who you are.” Sowers is the second woman to work as a full-time NFL assistant coach, joining Kathryn Smith, who was on the Buffalo Bills staff last season.
“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,” Sowers said in the Outsports story. “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 came to the 49ers as an intern as part of a minority fellowship program after working for the Atlanta Falcons organization during the 2016 season.
San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan was Atlanta’s offensive coordinator last season before accepting the head coaching job with the 49ers after the Falcons’ Super Bowl loss to New England in February.
Sowers is a former member of the United States Women’s Football League’s Kansas City Titans.