Woman becomes NFL's first female full-time coach In this provided by the Buffalo Bills, Bills’ Head coach Rex Ryan poses with assistant football coach Kathryn Smith Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016, in Orchard Park, N.Y. Smith, who has worked with Ryan for seven years, has become the first, full time, female assistant coach in the National Football League. (Anna Stolzenberg/Buffalo Bills via AP)
Woman becomes NFL's first female full-time coach
Lexile

Armed with notepads, pens and a keen eye for talent, Connie Carberg is still scouting football players.
 
She simply can't get enough of breaking down film. That's why the 64-year-old Carberg was in front of her television at home Jan. 23 in Coconut Creek, Florida, watching the East-West Shrine Game and the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.
 
"I love it," Carberg said. "When draft time comes, I've got all my notes on every player."
 
Carberg was the first woman to serve as a scout for an NFL team, working with the New York Jets in the 1970s. She was excited this month when the Buffalo Bills hired Kathryn Smith as the league's first full-time female assistant coach.
 
"It caught me totally by surprise," Carberg told The Associated Press in a phone interview. "I started seeing things on the news and on Twitter, and then I was like, 'Wow!' I just got really excited. I think it's a great opportunity for women."
 
Bills coach Rex Ryan promoted Smith to special teams quality control coach, an entry-level, assistant position, but a path that prominent coaches such as Jon Gruden, Eric Mangini, Tony Sparano and Todd Haley took on their way to getting top jobs in the league.
 
The 30-year-old Smith worked for Ryan with the Jets since 2009 as the team's player personnel assistant, and she joined the coach in Buffalo after he was fired by New York after the 2014 season. She was an administrative assistant for Buffalo's assistant coaches, working on various projects.
 
"The fact she has been around for a long time is important," Carberg said. "She has proven herself. It's not just something like, 'Let's just put a woman in there and let's make history.'"
 
As special teams quality control coach, Smith will deal with things such as charting and diagramming plays, and scouting blocking schemes and tendencies of kickers and punters.
 
"To me, the best part of this is that Kathryn has a chance to just learn so much and ask questions and pick up so many things," Carberg said.
 
Carberg served as a scout for the Jets from 1976-80, breaking a gender barrier in the NFL while watching game films, traveling and scouting college players. She is credited with bringing attention to then-little known defensive end Mark Gastineau, who became one of the league's top pass rushers after being drafted by the Jets in 1979. Gastineau invited Carberg to be his guest when he was inducted into the team's Ring of Honor in 2012.
 
Carberg, who will be the subject of an upcoming book about her life in the NFL, helped open the door for other women.
 
In 1986, the late Linda Bogdan, daughter of then-Bills owner Ralph Wilson, was hired by the team as a full-time scout.
 
Amy Trask was the Raiders' chief executive officer for owner Al Davis from 1997 until she resigned in 2013. The Jets promoted longtime executive Jacqueline Davidson to director of football administration last summer. Miami's Dawn Aponte (executive vice president of football administration), Cincinnati's Katie Blackburn (executive vice president), San Diego's Jeanne Bonk (executive vice president and chief financial officer) and San Francisco's Hannah Gordon (vice president of legal and government affairs) are among a growing list of high-ranking women in football front offices.
 
Jen Welter became the NFL's first female position coach last summer when she worked as an intern for the Arizona Cardinals while coaching linebackers.
 
"I still believe it's going to take a little bit of time," Carberg said. "I think Jen Welter would make an ideal scout because she has played the game and loves the sport. As far as the scouting world, that's the one thing I can't believe in 40 years other than myself and Linda that there haven't really been other women scouts. I can definitely see even more opportunities opening up there. It's just not looked upon as weird anymore where it might have been perceived in the past to talk to players and coaches and travel."
 
Carberg, whose father, Dr. Calvin Nicholas, was the Jets' internist, was hired by New York coach Charley Winner in 1974 as a team receptionist and then became the scouting secretary before being sent on the road to places such as alma mater Ohio State, Boston College, New York- and New Jersey-area schools, and the Orange Bowl in Miami to watch and interview players.
 
She was charged with making the Jets' 17th-round draft selection before leaving her role after the 1980 season to focus on her family.
 
Despite being in such a male-dominated environment, Carberg said she never felt awkward or intimidated.
 
"My biggest boosters in the world were men," she said. "Maybe because I felt so comfortable doing what I did. You might get some resistance, like anything else. But this younger generation right now is used to having their moms working, and working in very high positions. I think the respect is there. I think it's a lot of easier for women now than it might have been back in the old days."

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why is Kathryn Smith's new job a big deal?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (32)
  • riannas-ric
    2/02/2016 - 11:27 p.m.

    I think women should be aloud to coach NFL teams. I think they should be aloud to coach because this is not the 1800's when women didn't get to do anything. This is the 21st century and women should be able to do anything. "This younger generation right now is used to having their moms working, and working in very high positions. I think the respect is there." That is why women should be able to coach NFL teams. They already work in high positions, so why not NFL teams.

  • emmagened-1-ric
    2/03/2016 - 10:07 a.m.

    I think women should be able to teach NFl Teams. Some women know all about NFl. Even though its a girl doesn't mean that they don't have the ability to teach NFL. Kathryn has all notes and everything just like men would or some men would not have it.

  • giovannig-1-ric
    2/03/2016 - 10:16 a.m.

    I feel that women should be allowed to coach NFL/AFL teams. I say this because there are a lot of women who are avids football fans, probably even more then some men. If they are like Connie Carberg and love to coach a team and strategize plays then why not let a women be a coach? If a a football team really wants to win they need a good coach. In my opinion there are some women that could replace men in the NFL/AFL as coaches.

  • alexr-6-ric
    2/03/2016 - 10:18 a.m.

    Should women be able to coach NFL team? I say yes everybody should be able to do what they want like a coach. Some women can be good as a coach then a man can. Some men won't be able to know somethings while maybe a women can. Women love football as much as some men love football. Some Women would able to learn new things while coaching like new tactics.

  • jennab-ric
    2/03/2016 - 10:38 a.m.

    Women should be allowed to coach NFL teams because women can do everything men can do. In paragraph 5 it said that she was totally surprised when they hired her. People shouldn't be surprised about women doing stuff that is meant for guys because girls can do anything. Women are just as strong as men.

  • madelineg-1-ric
    2/03/2016 - 10:44 a.m.

    Women should be allowed to coach NFL teams because if she is comfortable with this choice she should be able to. I can prove this because in the last two paragraphs it states "Despite being in such a male-dominated environment, Carberg said she never felt awkward or intimidated. "My biggest boosters in the world were men," she said. "Maybe because I felt so comfortable doing what I did."" Another reason why woman should be able to is because if men can do it so can woman. In conclusion I do believe that woman should be able to coach NFL teams.

  • sydneyb1-ric
    2/03/2016 - 12:40 p.m.

    Women should be able to work on NFL teams. Women can do anything they put their mind to. Some people are very against having women work sports teams. They think that some women can't do anything, but they can.

  • hannahl-kem
    2/04/2016 - 01:28 p.m.

    There is a lot of controversy over a woman being a coach, but if the players respect the coach, it doesn't matter what gender you are. I think it's awesome that a woman is getting this much of an amazing opportunity.

  • joed-ric
    2/04/2016 - 01:32 p.m.

    Women should be allowed to coach NFL teams because they should have equal rights as other men. Most people probably think that football is a man sport, but it is made for the entertainment of both men and women. Other men might criticize the first ever woman coach, but they have the same rights as men do.''You might get some resistance, like anything else.''

  • vanessac-kem
    2/04/2016 - 01:37 p.m.

    Smith's new job is a big deal because she is a special teams quality control coach,and she deals with charting and diagramming plays, and scouting blocking schemes and tendencies of kickers and punters. And without her the team wouldn't have plays to call out

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