Friday, March 19, 2010

Female Football Head Coach

Last Friday, Calvin Coolidge Senior High School in Washington D.C. announced that 29 year old Natalie Randolph will assume the position of head coach of the school’s varsity football team. Randolph teaches biology and environmental sciences at Coolidge and is no stranger to football. From 2004 to 2008 Randolph was the wide receiver for the pro football team, the D.C. Divas, which won the National title in 2006.

Of the 15,000 varsity head coaches in the country Randolph is the only female. But this significant fact does not seem to be of great importance to Randolph. In an interview with NPR Randolph states "[w]hile I'm proud to be part of what this all means . . . being female has nothing to do with it. I love football. I love football, I love teaching, I love these kids. My being female has nothing to do with my support and respect for my players on the field and in the classroom."

The Washington Post reports that the last female head coach appointment was in 1985. However, after only one day on the job, Wanda Oates was removed after the school received pressure from other coaches who did not want to coach against her. Fortunately, this time around Randolph seems to have the support of her district and her team.

I am incredibly excited that Randolph will be joining the sports leaders of the country, and I hope her performance will encourage other women to do the same. I am also impressed with her focus on the sport and her team in the face of the media frenzy calling her a “pioneer” and her appointment “historic”. While those observations certainly seem true, the point is that she is qualified and capable of doing this job, and that’s why she is the varsity head coach.

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