The San Francisco 49ers are heading to the Super Bowl for the first time since 2013, defeating the Green Bay Packers 37-20 in Sunday’s NFC Championship game. It’s certainly an accomplishment within itself, but it also means the Kyle Shanahan coaching staff will have the first woman in league history to coach in the big game.
Katie Sowers, an offensive assistant coach with San Francisco has the distinction of making history. The 33-year-old has served in the same role for four seasons in the NFL, having previously worked with the Atlanta Falcons.
Per her bio on the 49ers website, Sowers also played on the 2013 United States Women’s National Football Team, playing in the WFA (women’s football alliance) for eight years.
“She’s been tremendous,” quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said. “She’s feisty, man. Katie is awesome out there. She’ll get after guys and it’s fun to be around.”
What makes Sowers’ first appearance in the Super Bowl as a coach even more remarkable are her roots. A Kansas native, she is arguably more associated with San Francisco’s opponent the Kansas City Chiefs more than her current team. Sowers attended the University of Central Missouri to pursue her graduate studies and received a master’s degree in kinesiology with an emphasis in pedagogy.
Sowers Is Also the First Openly Gay Coach in the NFL
An openly gay woman, Sowers publicly came out in 2017. She has been in a serious relationship with another woman for the past six months, whose identity she prefers to keep private. However, she has posted several photos of her and her girlfriend on her personal Instagram, showing admiration to her partner and thanking her for the longtime support.
“I love this team.. I love my support system … I love my girl… I love the Faithful… thank you all for making our trip to New Orleans one to remember. Best fans in the league! Just missing the rest of my family … someday we will all be together again,” a portion of the caption reads.
In an interview with OutSports, Sowers went on to say both the Falcons and 49ers were informed of her sexuality and provided nothing but their utmost support.
“No matter what you do in life, one of the most important things is to be true to who you are,” Sowers said. “There are so many people who identify as LGBT in the NFL, as in any business, that do not feel comfortable being public about their sexual orientation. The more we can create an environment that welcomes all types of people, no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, the more we can help ease the pain and burden that many carry every day.”
An impressive feat to add to her resume, it looks like Sowers’ tenure in the NFL is nothing short of a success.