The path for women coaching in the NFL has recently opened up and Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians believes it should continue.
Speaking at the 2019 NFL owners meetings in Phoenix, Arians spoke of looking forward to the day when news of hiring a female coach would no longer be news.
“It’s time, and I’ll be happy when it’s not news anymore,” Arians said. “That’s where it should be heading. They’re what we need. The fact that their gender’s different, who gives a s---?”
A history of hiring women
Last week, the Bucs made news by becoming the first team in NFL history to hire two women as full-time assistant coaches.
The team hired Lori Locust and Maral Javadifar to assist the team throughout the 2019-20 season. Locust previously served as the defensive line coach for the Birmingham Iron of the Alliance of American Football and will serve as assistant defensive line coach. Javadifar, a physical therapist based in Seattle, will serve as an assistant strength and conditioning coach.
In a statement following their hiring Arians said, “I know how hard it can be to get that first opportunity to coach at the highest level of professional football...The Glazer family and our general manager, Jason Licht, were extremely supportive of my decision, and I know Maral and Lori will be great additions to my coaching staff.”
Previously, Arians made history when he hired Jen Welter as an assistant coach in 2015 when he was with the Arizona Cardinals. Welter served as an intern through training camp and is now working with the Atlanta Legends of the AAF.
Since then, a handful of women have been hired by teams in a variety of roles.
‘Can they coach? Hell, yeah’
Speaking more about the matter Arians referred back to his time at Mississippi State. “I always go back to Dot Murphy at Hinds [Community College] when I was at Mississippi State,” Arians said. “She was one of the best receiver coaches I’d ever seen. This was 25 years ago. So my answer [when asked], ‘Can they coach?’ Hell, yeah. I’ve seen it. It’s just getting opportunities.”
Arians sees the coaching profession as not about gender, but whether the person can teach.
“Every NFL player is going to look at you and say, ‘How can you make me better?’” Arians added. “If you have an answer, you’re in. If you can’t answer, then you don’t belong there anyway. They can answer the question.”
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