Katie Sowers, the Offensive Assistant Coach for the San Francisco 49ers, stars in this year’s Microsoft Commercial. And as the commercial makes it on-screen debut during Sunday’s Super Bowl, viewers at home will undoubtedly want to learn more about her.
Read on to learn more about Katie Sowers.
1. She Played for the US Women’s Football Team
Since she was little, Sowers dreamed of playing football. Microsoft’s website quotes her as saying, “I remember loving football from day one. I would walk home every day, and all I’d want to do is play football.” A section of a diary entry from her childhood even reads, “When I grow up, I want to be on a real football team.”
Sowers started off playing for the West Michigan Mayhem in Michigan before transitioning to the US Women’s football team– they went on to win the 2013 IFAF Women’s World Championship.
Marquise Goodwin tells KNBR, “Katie is a baller, 100 percent… She understands the game. She’s very familiar with the game. She played in a women’s league and it may be a little different, but she definitely has the attitude it takes to be in that room. She brings a great vibe and she understands so I’m happy that she’s on staff.”
2. She Is the 2nd Woman in History to Hold a Coaching Position in the NFL
After playing for the US Women’s football team, Sowers interned as a scout for the Atlanta Falcons in 2016. After that, she became the second woman in history to hold a coaching position in the NFL (the first was Kathryn Smith, who was on the Buffalo Bills staff in 2016) and the first female coach for the San Francisco 49ers.
Her goal? To be head coach.
Sowers says, “I would love to be a head coach. That’s my goal… I’ve been told people aren’t ready for it. And I do think society has a lot of change that needs to be made in terms of the way we see women. But all it takes is one, and then they open the door for so many others.”
This season marks Sowers’ third with the 49ers. She is not only an offensive assistant coach, but she is the first female to coach in the Super Bowl.
During an interview earlier this week with reporters, Sowers admitted, “I’m waiting for someone to tell me that this is all a joke, and they’re going to be like ‘Psych! You’re not really there. You’re not really a football coach… It’s one of those things that you really start to look around you and take advantage of every single day, especially with things happening in the news. You really appreciate the moment.”
3. She Is the First Openly LGBT Coach in the League
Sowers is the first openly LGBT coach in the league.
She officially came out in a 2017 interview with Out Sports.
While discussing her sexual orientation with the outlet, she shared, “No matter what you do in life, one of the most important things is to be true to who you are… 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.”
In a tweet from September 2019, Sowers posted a picture of a letter from her girlfriend’s grandmother that said she wanted to meet Katie when her “whirlwind world” slowed down.
4. She Played College Basketball
Sowers was a senior guard for Goshen College’s basketball team. The school is a small private liberal arts college.
According to USA Today, Sowers averaged 28 minutes, eight points and five rebounds per game, and attended on a scholarship.
As the outlet notes, Sowers asked to stay on as a volunteer coach for the women’s basketball team after her playing eligibility ran out. That’s when her coach called her in and informed her that a “lot of parents that have been worried about their daughter being around someone who is gay.” The coach hugged her and said, “It’s nothing personal.”
Reflecting on the incident in a video for NBC, Sowers said, “… I remember hugging him but being extremely upset,” she said. “It was something that I grieved about for awhile, but I decided I had to move on.”
The rejection inspired her to take up football.
Last week, according to USA Today, the president of Goshen, Rebecca Stoltzfus, issued a public apology to Sowers for the discrimination she faced while at Goshen. “Sadly, in 2009, our policies and the laws of Indiana allowed for hiring decisions to consider sexual orientation… I am glad that Goshen College adopted a new non-discrimination policy in 2015, and I am thankful for the leaders before me who brought this change about, not the least of whom were our students and alumni.”
5. She Got Her Masters in Kinesiology
Sowers received her MS in Kinesiology in 2013, with an emphasis in Pedagogy, from the University of Central Missouri.
Newfound fans perusing Sowers Instagram will also find that she has a twin sister, Liz, who is a quarterback for the Kansas City Glory.
Sowers, her family, and her fans are confident that her story will pave the way for the next generation of girls, and anyone who has the desire to lead, despite the odds stacked against them.