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Who is Jennifer King? The NFL’s first full-time female & African-American coach

On Tuesday, Jennifer King became the first full-time African-American female coach in NFL history, paving the way for others to follow.

Who is Jennifer King? The first full-time female & African-American NFL coach
TEMPE, ARIZONA - MARCH 24: Assistant coach Jennifer King of the Arizona Hotshots during warmups prior to the Alliance of American Football game against the San Diego Fleet at Sun Devil Stadium on March 24, 2019 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/AAF/Getty Images)

Anytime you see a ceiling broken in an industry that can be agonizingly slow at progression, it must be commended. On Tuesday, Jennifer King became the first female African-American Assistant Coach in NFL history. After a career of success at every level, King’s promotion to assistant running backs coach helps pave the way for others to follow in her footsteps.

Jennifer King received a promotion to Assistant Running Backs coach on Tuesday

Jennifer King is the first full-time African-American female assistant position coach in NFL history.

The Washington Football Team announced King will serve as assistant running backs coach. King spent this past season as a full-time intern, working with running backs coach Randy Jordan. 

Her time with Washington was not her first interaction with the NFL or even Head Coach Ron Rivera. King also worked as an intern for two years under coach Ron Rivera when he was in Carolina, in 2018 and 2019. The two initially met each other at a Women’s Football Forum, which is put on by the NFL and led by Samantha Rapoport, the Senior Director, Diversity & Inclusion for the NFL. 

What can not be lost in all is King’s promotion comes in the middle of a massive change to the Washington organization from a cultural aspect. From the stories of numerous women steaking out against the organization to the changing of the nickname, Ron Rivera has made good on his promise to change the culture.

She joins Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Lori Locust and Maral Javadifar as the only current full-time female coaches in the NFL.

Make no mistake, Jennifer King is not just a figurehead or a talking point meant to appease the crowds calling for inclusion. King put herself in this position with a driven work ethic, a passion for the game, and success in every venture she has taken on. Jennifer King didn’t knock on doors; she kicked them down and added becoming the first full time female African-American assistant coach to her already impressive resume.

Jennifer King has a lengthy resume before becoming the first full-time African-American female NFL coach

King, a native of Eden, NC, was a two-sport athlete at Guilford College. She holds a Master of Science in sports administration from Liberty University. King also has a Bachelor of Science in sports management from Guilford College. She was a member of the Guilford College women’s basketball and softball teams from 2002-2006.

Jennifer King was the head coach of Johnson & Wales University Charlotte from 2016-2018. During King’s tenure, the team had a 37-10 record. They also won the USCAA Division II National Championship in 2018. She was named the USCAA Division II National Coach of the Year in 2018.

King also was an assistant coach on the Greensboro College women’s basketball staff from 2006-2016. During King’s 10 years with the team, they went 136-54 and won five conference titles. Also, they appeared in the NCAA tournament five times.

King had participated in NFL coaching clinics from 2015-2018 and also took part in the NFL Women’s Career in Football Forum in January of 2018. A highly-selective two-day event for qualified female candidates for positions in football. 

King succeeded as both a player and a coach in football

Between her internships with the Panthers, King was an assistant WR coach and special teams coach for the Arizona Hotshots of the Alliance of American Football. When the league disbanded, the Hotshots were 5-3 and tied for first place in the Western Conference. They were number two in yards per game (343.9) and points per game (23.2). 

Jennifer King had a successful career as a player as well. She was a seven-time All-American QB and WR for the Carolina Phoenix women’s tackle football team from 2006-2017. Also, in 2018 she played WR and DB for the New York Sharks women’s tackle football team and won the 2018 WFA National Championship. Then King went on to play WR and safety in 2019 for the D.C. Divas.

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Tommy Garrett is a writer for Pro Football Network covering the NFL and fantasy football. You can read more of his work here and follow him at @TommygarrettPFN on Twitter.

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