Serving the scholastic field hockey and lacrosse community since 1998

July 27, 2015 — A different kind of coach

As jobs go, assistant coaching for NFL teams is not the most stable or lucrative careers.

Which makes the decision made late yesterday by the Arizona Cardinals to hire Jen Welter as a linebackers coach at once a good human-interest story as well as a rather low risk for head coach Bruce Arians.

Welter is a former rugby player from Boston College who won gold for the United States in the IFAF women’s tackle football championship. She has also made a career as a player and coach for the Texas Revolution of the Champions Indoor Football League.

But what makes Welter an interesting candidate — and one likely to stick around a while — is the fact that she has a PhD in psychology and a master’s degree in sports psychology. It’s not likely to matter whether she can demonstrate a skill during training camp, but instead she will be more than prepared to get the most out of the linebackers in her care because she will know how to motivate them.

Since women’s tackle football started growing in the late 1990s in the United States, I’ve been waiting for former players to take over from the former NFL pros who have been on the sidelines. Having spoken to women’s football players off and on for the last decade and a half, there are a number of them who came into the game not only as players of other sports, but as coaches of other athletic endeavors.

If given a chance (she joins three other linebacker coaches employed by the Cardinals), she’ll do just fine.

After all, men have had about a 100-year head start on women when it comes to the gridiron.


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