49ers' Katie Sowers to Make History as First Female and Openly Gay Person to Coach at Super Bowl
By By Danielle Garrand/CBS News
Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group
At this year's Super Bowl -- when the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers take the field -- many will be watching the sideline for Katie Sowers to make history. Sowers, an offensive assistant coach with the 49ers, will become the first female and openly gay person to be calling the shots during football's biggest game.
Sowers is no stranger to breaking barriers, however. She was just the second woman hired as a full-time coach for an NFL team and the first openly LGBTQ coach in the league's history, the Washington Post reports. She came out publicly in 2017 as a lesbian in the publication Outsports.
"No matter what you do in life, one of the most important things is to be true to who you are," she said at the time, according to the outlet. "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, who has spent four seasons in the NFL, joined the 49ers as part of the 2017 Bill Walsh Minority Fellowship — a program aimed to increase the amount of full-time NFL minority coaches in the league, according to her 49ers biography.
The coach has spoken regularly about the importance of representation and was recently featured in an emotional Microsoft ad for its Surface Pro 7 device that ran during the Golden Globes earlier this month, reports CBS San Francisco. In the 30-second spot, she read a note she wrote as a child — in which she penned that she hoped to "be on a real football team."
"I'm not just here to be the token female, I'm here to help us win," she said in the inspiring clip, as footage of her coaching the 49ers played in the background. "I would want to tell this little girl to keep pushing yourself -- your dream's coming. "
Before heading to San Francisco, Sowers worked with the Atlanta Falcons and served as the athletic director of the City of Kansas City, according to her biography.
Sowers is also an athlete herself. She was a member of the 2013 U.S. Women's National Football team and played in the Women's Football alliance for eight years. She graduated with a masters degree in kinesiology, from the University of Central Missouri in 2012, according to her biography.
The NFL has had a few female coaches since 2015, including Kelsey Martinez, strength and conditioning coach with the Oakland Raiders in 2018, reports CBS San Francisco.
There are 11 women who are assistant coaches in the NBA, with six of them hired in the last off-season. The San Francisco Giants just hired its first full-time female coach in MLB history -- Alyssa Nakken. Sowers acknowledged the hire on Twitter, writing, "I see you @SFGiants."
The highly-anticipated Super Bowl LIV will take place February 2 in Miami. This is the first time in 50 years that the Chiefs have been able to reach the Super Bowl, and they're looking to win their first title since 1969.
As for the 49ers, their latest Super Bowl appearance came in 2012, but their last championship was in 1994 — so both clubs are trying to snap rather substantial droughts.
(This story was originally published on CBS News on Jan. 20 11 at 9:08 p.m. ET)