Jennifer King Is First Black Woman To Act As NFL Lead Position Coach

King, who played in the women's football league for over a decade, made history Tuesday night.
Jennifer King looks on at the game Tuesday as she acts as the NFL's first Black woman to act as a lead position coach during a game.
Jennifer King looks on at the game Tuesday as she acts as the NFL's first Black woman to act as a lead position coach during a game.
Mitchell Leff via Getty Images

The Washington Football Team鈥檚 Jennifer King became the first Black woman in NFL history to act as a lead position coach during a game when she stepped in Tuesday as the running backs coach.

King, who typically performs assistant coaching duties, took on the role during the team鈥檚 game against the Philadelphia Eagles after regular running backs coach Randy Jordan had to miss the game due to COVID-19 protocols.

Earlier this year, King became the second woman to coach full-time in the NFL and the first Black woman to do so. In a January interview on 鈥淕ood Morning America,鈥 King praised her players and other coaches for embracing her.

鈥淚鈥檝e been super fortunate to work with a great group of guys and I think it comes from the top,鈥 she said. 鈥淚鈥檝e had some great bosses ... That culture that they鈥檝e built has been fantastic. The guys that I鈥檝e worked with have been awesome.鈥

She credited her success to 鈥渉aving that personal mantra of really trying to be so good that you can鈥檛 be denied, and just keep going. If it鈥檚 something you really want, you have to find a way to get it done and not take no for an answer.鈥

Before moving into coaching, King was a seven-time All-American quarterback and wide receiver for the Carolina Phoenix women鈥檚 football team from 2006 to 2017.

Lack of diversity among coaches remains a troubling issue in the NFL. The disparity is most obvious among head coaches, of which only three are Black despite nearly 60% of NFL players being Black. An NFL diversity and inclusion report found in February 2020 that, over the past year, 24 of the 31 people hired to top roles 鈥 head coaches, offensive coordinators, defensive coordinators and general managers 鈥 were white men.

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