The New York Jets have hired Collette Smith as a preseason intern to work with the defensive backs.
Smith becomes just the third female coach ever hired by an NFL team. The Arizona Cardinals were the first team to hire a female coach when they hired Jen Welter in 2015. Like Smith, Welter was a preseason intern whose job expired when the regular season got underway. In 2016 the Buffalo Bills hired Kathryn Smith as their special teams quality control coach, the first female NFL full time coach. Now Collette Smith adds to the small but growing group of female NFL coaches.
The 44 year old Smith is currently a coach and marketing executive for the New York Sharks of the Independent Women’s Football League. Prior to taking her current position with the Sharks Smith played defensive back for three years with the Sharks, until her playing career was cut short by injury.
Said Smith, a die hard Jets fan, of her historic hire:
I’m over the top. I’m humbled and I’m proud. This could have happened with any NFL team. But it just so happened that it was with my beloved Jets. This is bigger because of that…
One day a woman will come to a football team, and it won’t be a big story. It’ll just be football. When that day comes, I’ll be more honored and even more proud.