The 49ers assistant coach continues to break down walls in the league.
San Francisco 49ers assistant coach Katie Sowers is breaking down walls in football. She recently became the second woman to be named a full-time assistant coach in the NFL. Now she has become the first openly gay coach in the league.
“No matter what you do in life, one of the most important things is to be true to who you are,” Sowers, explained in a new interview with 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.”
Katie Sowers is a seasonal offensive assistant coach for the 49ers in the 2017 season. Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Stringer/Getty Images.
Sowers played professional football for the Women’s Football Alliance and the U.S. national team and worked as an adviser to USA Football. Later, she served as general manager for the Kansas City Titans, a team in the Women’s Football Alliance. She joined the NFL in 2016 as an intern for the Atlanta Falcons, where she impressed 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, who was then serving as the Falcons’ offensive coordinator. Sowers joined Shanahan as an intern before being hired on full-time for the 2017 season.
“I would have loved to see women in this role when I was growing up because I think it would have allowed me to follow my passion even earlier,” Sowers says. “If you can’t see something happen, sometimes it’s hard to believe it can. We don’t know what we don’t know, and I didn’t know football was even a possibility for women.”
Sowers credits Atlanta general manager Scott Pioli for stressing the importance of finding “a way to open doors for those behind us.” Pioli also counseled former NFL player Ryan O’Callaghan and others regarding their sexuality.
Sowers thanked Pioli in a Facebook post earlier this month. “Scott, I know the best way that I can repay you is by continuing to open the door for others and I will do my best to continue what you have started and what you continue to do.”