“Fifteen years of experience playing football, first woman to play with men, and doctorate in psychology — I hope I can figure out something to contribute in there.” That’s what Dr. Jen Welter had to say when a reporter asked the new Artizona Cardinals assistant coaching intern, “What can you offer?” It’s the kind of question managers should be asking every candidate up for a new job — but her answer, power-packed as it is, really only scratches the surface.
(Photo Credit: Ken Lund/Flickr)
The biggest story coming out of the announcement is that there is no story. Cardinals Head Coach, Bruce Arians, hired her on merit — because he believes she can do the best job. And every player interviewed seems to agree: however unprecedented a female coach in the NFL is, as long as she can make players better, they have no problem with the hire.
Just Coach, Coach!
In an interview with the Cardinals’ website, Arians was quoted saying, “One thing I have learned from players is, ‘How are you going to make me better? If you can make me better, I don’t care if you’re the Green Hornet, man, I’ll listen.’ I really believe she’ll have a great opportunity with this internship through training camp to open some doors.”
And experience is not something she lacks. After being the first female to play a contact position — running back for the Texas Revolution — she then went onto coach linebackers and special teams this past season when the Revolution went onto compete in the championship. Her talent and ability landed her Arians’ attention, and ultimately this coaching internship.
Management 101: Bruce Arians
This could, and has, quickly become a discussion on the merits of affirmative action, the reality of the gender gap, and the chauvinistic male dominance of the NFL, but it’s unlikely that that’s what Arians or Dr. Welter are hoping for.
Instead, this is an exercise in good hiring, and should be seen as such. Where there may have been a narrower scope in the hiring process before, the scope has simply widened. Women are good candidates for coaching jobs, therefore they should be considered — and if another Jen Welter comes along, she probably deserves a spot on somebody’s coaching staff.
Just look at Becky Hammon. Hammon is the first full-time female NBA coach. She assists the great Gregg Popovich, who hired her because he felt “confident in her basketball IQ, work ethic, and interpersonal skills.” He was vindicated this summer when she went on to be the first female head coach of an NBA summer league team — and won the championship.
Tell Us What You Think
Are you excited about the Welter hire? Do you think she’ll get hired beyond the internship? Tell us what you think in the comments below, or join the conversation on Twitter!