The first female coach in the Super Bowl
Katie Sowers is the first woman to coach a team that made it to the Super Bowl — and the first out gay coach in the NFL. But homophobia nearly steered her away from her career.
Sowers is making football history as the first woman and the first openly LGBTQ+ person to coach at the Super Bowl. But she almost didn't become a football coach at all. Sowers, 33, has been an offensive assistant for 49ers for two seasons and has been in the NFL for four, including her introductory year in 2016 with the Atlanta Falcons. She joined the 49ers in June 2017 as part of the Bill Walsh Minority Fellowship, when she worked with San Francisco’s wide receivers.
Current 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan had been serving as Atlanta’s offensive coordinator at the time that Sowers got her start in the NFL
Before the 2017 season, Sowers came out to Outsports as lesbian and became the first openly gay coach in NFL history. Sowers wasn’t the first female coaching assistant in NFL history; Jen Welter was hired in 2015 as a seasonal assistant for the Arizona Cardinals and coached during training camp and the preseason. Then, in 2016, Kathryn Smith was the first full-time female coaching assistant in the NFL when the Bills hired her to be a special teams quality control coach.
Sowers also was a member of the 2013 U.S. Women’s National American Football squad that won the International Federation of American Football World Championship
Sowers is part of an offensive coaching staff that has helped the Niners become one of the more dependable outfits in the entire NFL. San Francisco ranked fourth in the regular season in total offense (381.1 yards per game), second in rushing (144.1 yards per game) and second in scoring (29.9 points a game). While quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, running back Raheem Mostert and tight end George Kittle have garnered much of the attention throughout the season and in weeks leading to the big game, wide receivers Deebo Samuels and Emmanuel Sanders have also been integral to the unit’s success.