jennifer-king:-what-to-know-about-the-first-black-female-nfl-position-coach

Washington’s Jennifer King was a part of history during the 2020 season when she and Cleveland Browns’ chief of staff Callie Brownson were both on the sidelines for the teams’ matchups.

About four months later, King would make history again.

The Washington Football Team promoted King to assistant running backs coach, making her the first Black female assistant position coach in the NFL in January.

“The sky is truly the limit for her,” Washington coach Ron Rivera said. “She got the chance to experience not only the in-season work that goes into being a full-time coach in this league but also the countless hours that are spent preparing in the offseason, as well.

“She demonstrated all of the qualities that are needed to work full time on my staff. She is a hard worker, a great communicator and a quality person. Coach King is always eager to learn and has shown tremendous growth since starting here last season.”

WORKING IN WASHINGTON

Full-year coaching intern Jennifer King, right, works with Washington Football Team running back J.D. McKissic (41) before the team's NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, in Landover, Md.

Full-year coaching intern Jennifer King, right, works with Washington Football Team running back J.D. McKissic (41) before the team’s NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, in Landover, Md.
((AP Photo/Julio Cortez))

King will be reporting to running backs coach Randy Jordan during the season.

“Representation is everything,” King said, via WTDV-TV. “Sometimes it’s hard for people to see things that you can’t see. It’s hard to believe in something or that you can do something that you don’t see anyone else who looks like you. It takes a different kind of drive I think to really achieve those things when there’s no representation.”

Jordan added: “I am very pleased to have coach King back to assist me full time in the running backs room. She was extremely helpful last year in seeing the game from a different perspective, and she was a tremendous communicator in our room. I look forward to continuing to collaborate as we move forward in our program and as she moves forward in her coaching career.”

When Washington made the playoffs during the 2020 season, she and Tampa Bay Buccaneers assistant defensive line coach Lori Locust and assistant strength and conditioning coach Maral Javadifar were the first female coaches to face off in the postseason.

King had an extensive history in football even before she took a job with Washington.

HISTORY IN FOOTBALL

She was an intern in 2018 and 2019 with the Carolina Panthers, when Rivera was the head coach there. She worked with wide receivers at the time, according to NFL.com. She was an assistant wide receivers coach for the Alliance of American Football’s Arizona Hotshots and was an offensive assistant at Dartmouth College.

The North Carolina native played in the Women’s Football Alliance as well. She was a wide receiver and quarterback for the Carolina Phoenix, a defensive back and wide receiver for the New York Sharks, and safety for the D.C. Divas.

TIME IN BASKETBALL

Before being an NFL coach, King was the head coach of the Johnson & Wales USCAA Division II women’s basketball team. She led the team to a national championship during the 2017-18 season and was named Coach of the Year.

King was 37-10 as the team’s head coach.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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