New Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians continues to assemble arguably the most diverse coaching staff in NFL history.
Two women hired as assistants
On Wednesday, Arians was on “Kenny and Crash” on Fox Sports 910, a Phoenix-based sports radio station, and revealed that he had hired two women to his staff: an assistant defensive line coach and an assistant strength and conditioning coach.
He did not reveal their names.
UPDATE (7:45 p.m. ET): ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the defensive line assistant is Lori Locust, a longtime coach who was with the Baltimore Ravens last year during training camp and the preseason through the Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowship; until recently, she was defensive line coach for the Birmingham Iron of the Alliance of American Football. The assistant strength and conditioning coach is Maral Javadifar, who has a doctor of physical therapy degree from New York Medical College.
The Buccaneers are the first team to have two women as full-time assistants on their coaching staff at the same time.
Not long after he was hired, Arians announced Byron Leftwich will be his offensive coordinator, Todd Bowles his defensive coordinator and Keith Armstrong his special teams coordinator; it’s believed it’s the first time in league history that the three positions on the same team are held by black men.
Arians opened door with Jen Welter
In 2015 when he was with the Arizona Cardinals, Arians made history when he hired Jen Welter as an assistant coach, though she was an intern and was with the team just for training camp. (Welter is currently the linebackers/defensive specialist coach for the Atlanta Legends of the AAF.)
In the years since, a handful of women have been hired by teams, either as interns or as full-time assistants. When he was coach of the Buffalo Bills, Rex Ryan hired Kathryn Smith as special teams quality control coach, and Smith became the first woman who had a full-time job as an assistant.
One question though
Arians has long established that he is in favor of having a diverse staff, and creating opportunities for coaches who are often overlooked (of the eight teams who filled head coaching jobs this cycle, only the Miami Dolphins hired a minority).
But there’s one question: if Arians is a champion for women, how does he justify keeping Jameis Winston on the roster?
Indeed, the answer is complicated. For one thing, Arians inherited Winston, who is entering the fifth and final year of his rookie contract.
He also was credibly accused of rape while a student at Florida State, and reached a settlement with the accuser in 2016 after she filed a civil lawsuit against him.
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