The San Francisco 49ers have hired Katie Sowers for the 2017 season, making her the team's first female assistant coach. She's also the second full-time female assistant coach in NFL history.
On Tuesday, Sowers, 31, made more history, becoming the NFL's first openly gay coach. In an interview with Outsports.com, Sowers discussed her sexual orientation for the first time on the record.
Per ESPN, Sowers joins quality control coach Kathryn Smith, who last year became the league's first female full-time assistant.
"No matter what you do in life, one of the most important things is to be true to who you are," Sowers told Outsports. "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."
ESPN notes that she joined the Niners as part of their Bill Walsh NFL Coaching Diversity Fellowship in the spring. She had worked previously with coach Kyle Shanahan in 2016, when he was offensive coordinator in Atlanta.
Sowers will serve as an offensive assistant. She spent the past few months working with the 49ers' wide receivers, but she also assisted in other areas. Shanahan said last week that he had offered Sowers the opportunity to stay with the team for the rest of the season.
"We plan on her assisting with the receivers," he said. "Katie did a real good job for us in Atlanta, she's done a really good job here. She helps [receivers coach] Mike LaFleur out, just with some rotations and she helps our quality control [coaches] out just with all the stuff they have to do. She's a hard worker, you don't even notice her because she just goes to work and does what's asked. Because of that, she's someone we'd like to keep around. We're still figuring out exact titles and stuff and what that aspect is, but she's done a good job for us two years in a row in camp and we'd like to have her help out throughout the year."