The Jets will hire Collette Smith as an intern to work with defensive backs during training camp, making her the first female coach in team history, the New York Daily Newsreports.
Smith, 44, works as a coach and marketing executve for the New York Sharks of the Independent Women’s Football League. She formerly played for the team.
Smith, who is from Queens, NY and grew up a fan of the team, spent time at Jets practices last year and connected with head coach Todd Bowles, effectively shadowing
“I’m over the top. I’m humbled and I’m proud,” Smith told the Daily News. “This could have happened with any NFL team. But it just so happened that it was with my beloved New York Jets. This is bigger because of that. God forbid it would have been with the Patriots. But I still would have done it.”
Jen Welter became the first woman to coach in the NFL in 2015, when she joined the Cardinals in a preseason coaching role.
“We as women carry a lot on our shoulders,” Smith said. “Right now, it happens to be football for me. This is a way for me to help empower women. Don’t dream small, play big and go for it.
“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.”