Football fans outside of the Bay Area likely became acquainted with 49ers offensive assistance Katie Sowers due to a new national ad selling Microsoft’s Surface Pro 7 tablets during playoff games. Now with the 49ers win over the Packers, Sowers will be the first woman and openly LGBT coach to work the Super Bowl on February 2 in Miami.
Sowers works with the team’s skill position players and has contributed to the team’s offensive firepower this season, which is second in rushing and second in points scored. “She’s been tremendous,” quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo told reporters about Sowers after the team’s 37-20 victory in the NFC championship game over the Packers. “Katie was here before I was, but just what she does with the receivers, all the skill position guys, how she interacts with them. It’s fun to be around.”
Before coming to San Francisco in 2017, she worked with wide receivers as a training camp assistant for the Atlanta Falcons in 2016 through the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship. Before that she played women’s professional football for the West Michigan Mayhem and the Kansas City Titans, eventually retiring because of a hip injury.
The Kansas native from the small town of Hesston used to play football in her backyard with her twin sister, routinely beating up on the local boys. She is now the second full-time female coach to work in the NFL and the first and only one to be openly gay. This feat has not gone unnoticed. The United States Soccer Women’s National Team acknowledged Sowers trip to the Super Bowl with a tweet. The legendary Billie Jean King also weighed in: “Congratulations to KatieSowers of the @49ers, who will become the first woman to coach in the SuperBowl. You have to see it to be it!”
Sowers saw it before anyone. Now she is making believers with millions more to come as she continues her ascendancy in a sport not known for welcoming women or people in the LGBT community.