Eight women breaking barriers in men?s sports as coaches, referees and broadcasters (USA)
A league of their own, indeed!
From coaches to referees to broadcasters, women are breaking down barriers and stereotypes in the sporting world.
Here’s a look at 8 females charging up the court, firing up footballs players and even explain how to hit a curveball:
Becky Hammon, Spurs assistant coach
Former WNBA great ? she was inducted into the New York Liberty Ring of Honor in August ? Becky Hammon was hired as an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs in August 2014, becoming the first full-time, salaried female coach in NBA history.
Hammon also became the first female head coach in the NBA’s Summer League when she?led the Spurs to the Las Vegas Summer League title?in July.
Nancy Lieberman, Kings assistant coach
Widely regarded as one of the best female basketball players, Hall of Famer and two-time Olympian Nancy Lieberman was?hired as an assistant coach for the Sacramento Kings,?the second female assistant coach in NBA history after Hammon.
Lieberman was also the first woman to coach a professional men’s basketball team when she was tapped to lead the Texas Legends in the NBA Development League in November 2009.
Jen Welter, Cardinals assistant coaching intern
The position was temporary, but Jen Welter changed history as the NFL’s first female coach when the Arizona Cardinals?hired her as an assistant coaching intern?working with the inside linebackers for the 2015 training camp and preseason.
Welter also made waves when she was signed as a running back for the Indoor Football League Texas Revolution, becoming the first female running back on a men’s professional football team.
Kathryn Smith, Bills special teams quality control coach
St. John’s University graduate Kathryn Smith was?named the Buffalo Bills special teams quality control coach?on Wednesday, making her the first full-time female assistant coach in the NFL.
Smith was promoted after three years as a special events intern and college scouting intern and six years as a player personnel assistant with the Jets.
She also served as Rex Ryan’s administrative assistant in his final year with the Jets and his first year with the Bills.
Sarah Thomas, NFL full-time official
A college basketball player from the University of Mobile, Sarah Thomas started as an official at a varsity high school game in 1999.
She worked her way up, becoming the first woman to officiate a major college football game, a bowl game ? the Little Ceasars Pizza Bowl in 2009 ? and at a Big Ten stadium.
In 2015, Thomas was?hired as the first full-time female official in NFL history.She made her regular season debut in September in a game between the Chiefs and the Texans.
Justine Siegal, Athletics guest instructional league coach
A former youth and college baseball coach, Justine Siegal made history as the first female coach of a professional men’s baseball team when she became the first-base coach for the Brockton Rox in 2009.
In 2011, she became the first woman to throw batting practice to a MLB team and?spent two weeks?as a coach with the Oakland Athletics instructional league in 2015, becoming the first female coach of a major-league baseball team.
Jessica Mendoza, ESPN Sunday Night Baseball broadcaster
Four-time All-American college softball player, seven-year member of the United States women’s national softball team and Olympic silver medalist at the 2008 Beijing Games, Jessica Mendoza transitioned into the booth when she began working as a color analyst for ESPN during the Women’s College World Series and as a sideline reporter for ESPNU.
In June, she became the first female broadcaster in the booth for the College World Series, the first female analyst for an MLB game in August and the first female postseason analyst in October.
In January, ESPN?officially announced?that Mendoza would join the Sunday Night Baseball broadcast team full-time with Dan Shulman and Aaron Boone.
Amanda Hopkins, Mariners full-time scout
After spending three summers as an intern, 22-year-old Amanda Hopkins, daughter of Ron Hopkins, the Pirates assistant to the general manager, was hired as a full-time area – Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico – scout for the Seattle Mariners in December.
Mariners scouting director Tom McNamara made clear that Hopkins was hired purely for her talent when he spoke at the Winter Meetings.
“We didn’t make a big deal out of it, and the reason we didn’t was because she fits right in,” he said.
“I look at her as a scout. Everybody here is excited. We’re excited because we feel we’ve hired a good scout.”
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