49ers reportedly retaining first female coach, Katie Sowers, for regular season
Earlier this offseason, Katie Sowers made history by becoming the 49ers‘ first female coach. Now, she’s expected to make some more history by joining the 49ers for the duration of the season.
On Saturday, Sowers posted on Facebook that she “accepted a season long coaching position” with the 49ers. In her Facebook post, Sowers thanked Scott Pioli, the Falcons‘ assistant general manager, for being a close friend and a mentor.
The 49ers didn’t confirm the hiring of Sowers when The Mercury News reached out for a comment.
Though the specifics of her new job are unknown, Sowers did work with the 49ers’ receivers during the summer. According to The Mercury News, Sowers played professional football, functioned as an adviser for USA Football, and was general manager of the Kansas City Titans of the Women’s Football Alliance.
Last summer, when 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan was the offensive coordinator in Atlanta, Sowers helped out. Later, she transitioned into a new role as a scouting intern, according to The Sacramento Bee.
“We were in Atlanta, and people asked, ‘Why did you want to bring a girl here?’ I didn’t even look at it that way,” Shanahan said last week, per The Mercury News. “She helped us there and asked if she could do the same thing here. … She helps out. She’s good in the room. It helps her because she learns, too. But I like hearing Katie’s opinion.”
When Shanahan got the 49ers’ gig, he got a call from Sowers.
“She just hit me up a few months ago and said her internship was up over there and asked if we would want to have her here,” Shanahan said, per the The Sacramento Bee. “There was no doubt. She does a good job and we’re excited to have her.”
Sowers is the 49ers’ first female coach, but she’s not the first in league history. That honor belongs to Jen Welter, who was given an internship with the Cardinals in 2015. Last year, the Bills hired Kathryn Smith as the first full-time female NFL coach, though she’s no longer on the team’s coaching staff. Earlier this offseason, the Jets also hired Collette Smith to an internship, making her the first female coach in Jets history.
“It’s groundbreaking and all that stuff, but the more normalized it is, the better it is,” Sowers said last week, per The Mercury News. “As a female, the more someone can ask me what I do and I say ‘I coach football,’ the less shock on their faces will mean the better direction we’re moving.”