Arizona Cardinals hire Jen Welter, NFL’s first female coach
The Arizona Cardinals have hired Jen Welter to coach inside linebackers through their upcoming training camp and preseason.
The Cardinals say Welter is believed to be the first woman to hold a coaching position of any kind in the NFL. Welter played running back and special teams in 2014 for the Texas Revolution of the Indoor Football League, becoming the first woman to hold a non-kicking position for a men’s professional sports league.
She coached linebackers and special teams for the Revolution last season, becoming the first woman to coach in a men’s pro football league.
Welter played linebacker for more than 14 seasons with the Dallas Diamonds of the Women’s Football Alliance and holds a master’s degree in sports psychology.
During the NFL owners meetings in March someone asked Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians about the possibility of female coaches in the NFL.
“The minute they can prove they can make a player better, they’ll be hired,” Arians said, noting that’s all any player ever really wants.
“Coaching is nothing more than teaching,” Arians said Monday. “One thing I have learned from players is, ‘How are you going to make me better? If you can make me better, I don’t care if you’re the Green Hornet, man, I’ll listen.’ I really believe she’ll have a great opportunity with this internship through training camp to open some doors for her.”
“She came for an OTA and I met her, and I thought she was the type of person that could handle this in a very positive way for women and open that door,” Arians said.
Arians added he had talked to the veterans on the Cardinals to tell them what he was going to do and “they were all very cool with it.”
“It’s not going to be a distraction in any way,” Arians said.
The move comes at a time when women have made some small inroads into the male professional sports. Sarah Thomas has been hired this season as the NFL’s first full-time female official. Becky Hammon was hired to be an assistant coach for the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs last season, and as the Spurs’ summer league head coach led the team to a summer championship.
Arians said it wouldn’t be up to him whether putting a woman on his staff first would impact his legacy, but reiterated that he hopes it creates further opportunities for Welter and other women.
How do go about making photos of big wave surfing even more extreme? Here’s one way: add fire to the mix. Surfer Jamie O’Brien recently tackled some of the world’s heaviest and dangerous waves while wearing a wetsuit that was set on fire. Photographer Tim McKenna was on hand to capture the stunt.
O’Brien says he originally got the idea after a fan sent him a message through Instagram, suggesting that he should light himself on fire and “get barreled at Teahupo’o.” Teahupo’o is a village on Tahiti, French Polynesia, that’s known for having huge, heavy waves that break on extremely shallow (and dangerous) coral reef.
So, O’Brien teamed up with Red Bull, assembled a team of 20 people, and attempted the stunt.