San Francisco 49ers Assistant Comes Out To Become NFL’s First Openly Gay Coach

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

Katie Sowers is a trail blazer. Not only is she just the second full-time NFL coach who happens to be female, but on Tuesday she came out in a piece on Outsports to become the league’s (and apparently major male American pro sports’) first openly gay coach.

“No matter what you do in life, one of the most important things is to be true to who you are,” Sowers, 31, told Outsports of her decision to discuss her sexual orientation publicly for the first time. “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.

“The more we can create an environment that welcomes all types of people, no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, the more we can help ease the pain and burden that many carry every day.”

Last year, Sowers was a scouting intern with the Super Bowl-losing Atlanta Falcons. She must have impressed former Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, because after he was hired as the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, she landed a full-time gig with the franchise as an offensive assistant who works with wide receivers. In 2013, she won a gold medal at the Women’s World Championship in Vantaa, Finland.

“She did a really good job for us in Atlanta,” Shanahan said two weeks ago. “She’s done a real good job here. She helps [wide receivers coach/passing game specialist] Mike LaFleur out just with some rotations. She helps our quality controls with all the stuff they have to do. She’s a hard worker. You don’t even notice her because she just goes to work and does what’s asked and because of that she’s someone we would like to keep around.”

The NFL’s first openly gay coach has also drawn praise from players, like wideout Marquise Goodwin.

“Katie is a baller, 100 percent,” Goodwin told radio station KNBR. “She understands the game. She’s very familiar with the game. She played in a women’s league and it may be a little different, but she definitely has the attitude it takes to be in that room. She brings a great vibe and she understands so I’m happy that she’s on staff.”