The Bills made history on Wednesday night by hiring Kathryn Smith as their quality control-special teams coach – the NFL’s first full-time female coach.
“Kathryn Smith has done an outstanding job in the seven years that she has worked with our staff,” Bills’ head coach Rex Ryan noted in the team’s press release. “She certainly deserves this promotion based on her knowledge and strong commitment, just to name a couple of her outstanding qualities, and I just know she’s going to do a great job serving in the role of Quality Control-Special Teams.”
Buffalo’s ground-breaking hire comes less than a year after Arizona Cardinals’ head coach Bruce Arians brought on the NFL’s first-ever female coach last summer as a training camp/preseason intern, coaching inside linebackers. Back then Arians made a point to say that “the moment female coaches can prove they can make a player better, they’ll be hired,” and pushed for other teams to follow Arizona’s example.
In making the decision to bring Smith onto the Bills’ staff full-time, Ryan took time to consult with Arians, saying, ” he was really the first NFL head coach to make this kind of move when he hired a female linebackers coach through the summer. You can see the success some of these young ladies are having in the coaching profession.”
Smith is set to enter her 14th year in the NFL and has been promoted by Buffalo after spending 2015 as the team’s administrative assistant to the head coach.
“Kathryn Smith has done an outstanding job in the seven years that she has worked with our staff,” Ryan explained. “She certainly deserves this promotion based on her knowledge and strong commitment, just to name a couple of her outstanding qualities, and I just know she’s going to do a great job serving in the role of Quality Control-Special Teams.”
Smith spent 12 seasons working for the New York Jets from 2003 to 2014 before joining the Bills’ coaching ranks in 2015. Her first role in New York was as the gameday/special events intern. She then became a college scouting intern in 2005 before being promoted to player personnel assistant in 2007 and going on to be named assistant to the head coach in 2014.
This latest addition to the Bills’ coaching staff follows the hiring of Ryan’s brother Rob as the assistant head coach/defense and nine-time Pro Bowl safety Ed Reed as an assistant defensive backs coach. It’s unclear at this point if any other changes will be made to Buffalo’s coaching staff this off-season.