Fans NFL

Coach Jennifer King interns with Carolina Panthers

The Carolina Panthers made history hiring their first female coach.

Jennifer King was hired by the Panthers as an interim coach. King is the women’s basketball coach at Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte. Jourdan Rodrigue of The Charlotte Observer profiled King about her life and career and how it led to her coaching at the Panthers’ spring organized team activities.

King, 33, arrived without fanfare to the Panthers staff for the spring’s organized team activities and will stay through this week’s minicamp, working mostly with the receivers alongside Lance Taylor and Jerricho Cotchery.

She is the first female coaching intern ever hired in Carolina, but Panthers head coach Ron Rivera has known of her for a couple of years.

He has worked with the NFL’s career development symposiums, usually held during the Pro Bowl.

King has attended the symposiums for the past couple of years in an effort to wedge her foot in any door she could.

“I went to the Women’s NFL Careers forum in Orlando in February,” said King. “They single out some of the better candidates who might find opportunity, and we get a chance to meet a lot of executives. I met Coach Rivera there. We kind of connected, and obviously I’m right next door.”

Rivera held on to her resume, and she followed up, asking him to speak to some of her athletes in Charlotte.

He also gave her some advice: Stay ready, in case the opportunity comes.

And in her case, it did.

“I think the most important thing I learned from him was to be prepared,” she said. “We’re obviously given an opportunity to get a foot in the door. But you have to be prepared when you get there.”

King isn’t the first woman to work with an NFL team as a coach or scout. Minnesota hired two female scouts and a scouting intern in 2017. The Buffalo Bills hired Kathryn Smith as a special teams quality control coach for the 2016-17 season. Smith became the first woman in a full-time NFL assistant coaching position.
The San Francisco 49ers hired Katie Sowers in 2017 as an offensive assistant, making her the NFL’s second female full-time assistant coach and the first openly gay NFL coach. During the offseason, the Baltimore Ravens announced they have hired three women to work in coaching and analytics roles for training camp.It’s clear that hiring women as coaches or scouts is trending in the NFL. Hopefully, that trend will continue and we will see a woman in a head coaching role.

Photo by Jeff Siner/The Charlotte Observer 

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

To Top