Watch: NFL's First African-American Female Assistant Coach Congratulates Jennifer King
Jennifer King is breaking ground as the first African-American female full-time assistant coach in the NFL, where she will assist in coaching Washington’s running backs. In the NFL’s first ever African-American assistant, Collette Smith, there couldn’t be a big cheerleader or advocate.
Smith spent the 2017 training camp and preseason with the New York Jets, where she was an intern as part of head coach Todd Bowles’ coaching staff. In that role, she was a defensive backs coach. She had a full and varied plate of responsibilities with the team during her time as an assistant.
A former player and coach with the New York Sharks of the Women’s Football League, Smith recalls fondly her time with the Jets. She said she was widely accepted throughout the team’s facility and in the locker room by the players.
Now in seeing King’s monumental hiring by Washington, Smith says she got “goosebumps” over the news:
King, who also played with the Sharks in the women’s league, has a history with Washington head coach Ron Rivera. She had spent time the past two years as a coaching intern during preseason with the Carolina Panthers, where Rivera was the head coach. Her responsibilities centered around the wide receivers.
Currently, Smith is heading up a non-profit, BELIEVE N YOU, Inc., which aims to provide opportunities and engagement within the African-American community, particularly focused on helping young people. In addition, Smith is also a motivational speaker to business, community groups and organizations, utilizing her life story and opportunity with the Jets to provide encouragement and hope.