NFL history: Bills hire full-time female coach

Posted at 8:20 PM, Jan 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-21 17:36:00-05

The Buffalo Bills are making NFL history. The Bills are the first team in NFL history to have hired a full-time female assistant coach. 

The Bills hired Kathryn Smith as the team's newest Quality Control-Special Teams coach. Smith spent the 2015 season with the Bills, and was with the New York Jets alongside Rex Ryan the year before that.

“Kathryn Smith has done an outstanding job in the seven years that she has worked with our staff,” said Ryan. “She certainly deserves this promotion based on her knowledge and strong commitment, just to name a couple of her outstanding qualities, and I just know she’s going to do a great job serving in the role of Quality Control-Special Teams.”

“Kathryn has been working in a football administrative role and assisted the assistant coaches for years. She has proven that she’s ready for the next step, so I’m excited and proud for her with this opportunity. She will work with Danny Crossman and Eric Smith involving a number of responsibilities.”

Smith will replace Michael Hamlin, who was let go by the Bills after just one year serving in that position for the team. Smith spent the 2015 season as an administrative assistant to Ryan.

Smith's hire is making waves across the country but especially in Western New York. Successful women say her hire is not to be overlooked. 

"Kudos to Rex Ryan and the Buffalo Bills because they sort of just pulled the trigger," said Michele Melligan the owner of Empower Girls Buffalo.

Judge Betty Calvo-Torres sits on the bench at Buffalo City Court. She was appointed by Mayor Byron Brown in 2007 and ran a successful campaign for a 10 year term. 

Judge Calvo-Torres said anytime a woman can "break the glass-ceiling" is an inspirational accomplishment.

"To break barriers in a male dominated field is good for all of us because now those words, that anything is possible with hard work, aren't just words it's a reality," said Judge Calvo-Torres. 

"I think it's amazing," said Tawan Slaughter, co-owner of the Buffalo 716ers men's basketball team. Women can do this job, we just need the opportunity to prove ourselves and show we are just as talented and just as smart."

The Buffalo Bills aren't the only team to make NFL history. The Arizona Cardinals made history and hired Jenn Welter as a training camp assistant coach in the summer of 2015, but she was not brought on as a full-time coach for the 2015 season.

“I consulted with Bruce Arians on this since he was really the first NFL head coach to make this kind of move when he hired a female linebackers coach through the summer. You can see the success some of these young ladies are having in the coaching profession, such as the young lady that is an assistant to Coach (Greg) Popovich at the San Antonio Spurs, and realize how exciting this is for women like Kathryn Smith as well as the Bills organization.”

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia





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