How the 49ers' assistant, Katie Sowers, became a Super Bowl pioneer


MIAMI – Google, a list of goals and a greater sense of her father have helped make Katie Sowers a pioneer.

Sowers earned $ 800 a month in primary school in 2010.

Was she happy to impress children? Yes. Was it fulfilled? Not even close.

"There was a point in my life when I wrote down my goals when I felt lost. One of the things I wanted to do was something that nobody had done before," said Sowers. "I started it, so to speak. I only knew that I should be a coach. My father was a coach. "

Sowers, an offensive assistant coach of the 49ers, will be the first woman and first openly gay person to compete in a Super Bowl when their team takes on the Chiefs. She didn't want to be the first.

"Then drive against other women," said Sowers. "It is more important than I am not the last."

Sowers was one of the stars on Monday night at the “Super Bowl Opening Night” in Marlins Park, not because she led the scout team, set up playing cards, or occupied a position on the practice field. Their gender and sexual orientation are the reasons.

"I will know that if it is no longer a headline, we will be successful," said Sowers.

Katie SowersAP

Younger women send Sowers notes thanking them for the way to football at all levels. Older women send Sowers notes and wistfully admit that years ago they wished they had the opportunities she helped shape.

Becky Hammon, a six-time WNBA all-star player, was hired as an assistant coach by the NBA's Spurs in 2014. The day that this happened, Sowers posted a note on her Instagram account: "Coming for the NFL".

"When I found soccer, it all made sense," said Sowers. “Google does a lot of good things. I was done with all of the sports I had played in college and I was bored and tried to figure out what was going to happen next. I found a team in Michigan and started my soccer trip. "

Sowers played in the Women & # 39; s Football Alliance from 2013 to 2016 and found a way into an NFL coaching internship with Bill's Falcons with the help of Scott Pioli, longtime Patriots manager, chiefs (general manager) and falcons, and son-in-law Parcells. Pioli's daughter was trained by Sowers in youth basketball.

At this point, Sowers had already been declined for a basketball coaching job with a woman at her alma mater, Goshen College, due to her sexual orientation, as was permitted under the Indiana state law at the time.

As Sowers shared her story on the national stage, Goshen apologized this week and referred to the 2015 non-discrimination policy. Too little, too late for Sowers, but never too late for someone else.

"I don't have hard feelings," said Sowers. "Adversity always happens no matter who you are, where you are. You can see it as a roadblock or as a detour. This moment is part of my path that led me here. We just keep making progress. If we just turn to hatred of ignorance, it never gets better. "

As the star of a commercial for the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 laptop, Sowers hopes that young girls will see the ad that will be hard to miss this week on TV and ask questions that will make them dream big.

"It was almost so far that I had to think about whether I was really and really watching it," said Sowers, "because my whole life was kind of a circle." [Players] always say, "Katie, you're back in the commercial!"

Sowers met open-minded offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan in the Falcons organization and brought her through the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship when he hired her as head coach of the 49ers in 2017. She was promoted to full-time assistant in 2019 and describes her coaching style as "more teachers, more player-oriented", but not as a "screamer".

Katie Sowers

What are your daily tasks?

"Everything that is needed," said Sowers. "That's the attitude you have to have. You're never too good. When I started as an NFL trainer, I went for a walk with dogs. They're never too cool to go for a walk with a dog. They do whatever it takes to get the job done. "

Getting acceptance into a male-dominated profession wasn't as difficult as you think once you're in the door, she says.

"Not if you work with the group of people I work with," she said. "I had to be myself. The more authentic you are, the more people trust you, the more people agree with what you say. If you try to be someone else, you will lose all respect. "

Seeders now undoubtedly command respect. It will only continue to grow with a Super Bowl ring. Or a coordinator job. Or dare to take a position as head coach.

"The future remains to be told," she said. "It is not written yet. I will take a job that I know I can continue to influence. This is here and now and now in the present moment."