New ground has been broken at the National Football League: a woman has joined the coaching ranks of the ultimate American boys club.
The Arizona Cardinals announced on Monday that Jen Welter of the Indoor Football League will serve as the team's training camp and preseason coaching intern, making her the NFL's first woman to hold any coaching position.
“I am honored to be a part of this amazing team,” Ms. Welter posted on Twitter Monday night.
Jen Welter joins Becky Hammon – assistant coach of the San Antonio Spurs – in the limited club of women who coach men in sports professionals.
"Coaching is nothing more than teaching," Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians told azcardinals.com on Monday. "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 for her,” Mr. Arians said.
Welter has been making history throughout her career, as Espn.go.com reports:
In February, she became the first female coach in a men's professional football league when she was hired by the Texas Revolution of the Indoor Football League to coach linebackers and special teams. The Revolution's general manager is Hall of Fame wide receiver Tim Brown. In February 2014, she became the first female to play a non-kicking position in a men's professional football league when she played running back and special teams for the Revolution.
Welter played professional football for more than 14 years as a linebacker, mostly with the Dallas Diamonds of the Women's Football Alliance. She helped lead them to four championships.
Arians hinted at the possibility of a female coach earlier this year.
"Someone asked me yesterday, 'When are we going to have female coaches?'" Arians said at the NFL owners meeting in April. "The minute they can prove they can make a player better, they'll be hired."
Welter will join linebackers coaches Bob Sanders, Larry Foote, and recently hired Levon Kirkland.
This report includes material from the Associated Press.