The Arizona Cardinals announced on Monday night that they had hired the first-ever female NFL coach. A former women’s professional football player, Jen Welter was brought in to the team’s fold as a training camp and preseason coach for inside linebackers on the team.
Speaking to the team’s philosophy on coaches and what can make a good coach, Bruce Arians, the team’s head coach, said that it was all about what they can inspire in the players, according to a release on the team’s website. The idea to hire a woman on the coaching staff branched out from a meeting in March when Arians was asked about the possibility.
“Coaching is nothing more than teaching,” Arians said Monday, according to the team website. “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.”
Arians was asked about the possibility in March at an owners meeting, and his response at the time was reportedly “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.”
— Dr. Jen Welter (@jwelter47) July 28, 2015
Welter played rugby in college and then spent nearly a decade and a half playing women’s professional football, for the most part in the Women’s Football Alliance. Following the meeting in March, Arians heard about Welter, who was on the staff of an indoor football league in Texas.
While with the indoor team, Texas Revolution, Welter also played a single game . That game made her the first-ever female to play in a professional football game as anything but a kicker. She went from there onto the team’s coaching staff.