LGBTQ+

49ers’ Katie Sowers Will Be First Woman & Openly LGBTQ+ Coach At Super Bowl

Katie Sowers will join the 49ers coaching staff at Super Bowl LIV against the Kansas City Chiefs.

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San Francisco 49ers’ offensive assistant coach Katie Sowers will make history (in more ways than one) at this year’s Super Bowl LIV.

Sowers, 33, will become the first woman and openly gay person to coach in the NFL’s big game as the 49ers face off against the Kansas City Chiefs. The Super Bowl is scheduled for February 2 at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.

The Niners landed the coveted spot over the weekend, beating the Green Bay Packers 37-20 in the NFC Championship Game at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.

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Previous headlines have chronicled Sowers’ barrier-breaking achievements in the NFL. She became the second full-time woman assistant coach ever hired by the league in 2017, according to the Washington Post, making this her second season with the 49ers and fourth with the league. Sowers came out publicly as a lesbian in the publication Outsports that same year.

“No matter what you do in life, one of the most important things is to be true to who you are,” Sowers told Outsports while discussing her sexuality in 2017. “There are so many people who identify as LGBT in the NFL, as in any business, that do not feel comfortable being public about their sexual orientation.

Sowers is also a recipient of the Bill Walsh Minority Fellowship, which is designed for minority coaches to gain experience and eventually land full-time coaching jobs. Previously, she worked with the Atlanta Falcons and spent five years as athletic director of the City of Kansas City, according to her 49ers biography. A former player, Sowers was a member of the U.S. Women's National Football Team in 2013 and competed in the Women’s Football alliance for eight years.

Her profile has been rising, as she was recently featured in a Microsoft Surface Pro 7 commercial. In the ad, Sowers emphasizes her focus on the work by saying, “I'm not just here to be the token female, I'm here to help us win."

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Even though women comprise nearly 50% of NFL fans, they’ve historically been underrepresented in jobs across the league. Teams including the Philadelphia Eagles have been portrayed as outliers for employing more than 50% women as top advisers to the team’s owner in various executive roles. 

Other major leagues are gradually showing minor progress; Alyssa Nakken became the first woman coach in the MLB after the San Francisco Giants announced her hire in January, according to NBC Sports. In the NFL, Kathryn Smith became the first full-time woman assistant coach in history when she joined the Buffalo Bills in 2015.

After the Niners’ win on Sunday, Sowers tweeted: “Unreal night. Takin our talents to South Beach ... Niners vs Chiefs  ... I couldn’t ask for a better game.”

The 49ers’ last Super Bowl appearance was in 2012.

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