Lizzloves's Blog

Spreading love and sisterhood…

LizzLoves Jen Welter August 3, 2015

welter

One of my favorite memories from college was the year that my girls and I hosted a little Superbowl party in our dorm’s suite. That year, I became close to Kelly, who is now a lifelong sister. We had met freshman year, but it wasn’t until we lived together sophomore year that I really got to know her. I was amused and surprised when I discovered that she was a big football fan. While I consider myself an athlete, I don’t come from a family of sports fans, so being raised with football culture was complete foreign to me. So, it was an awesome sight to see when little 5’3 Kelly plopped herself on the couch between two 6’0 dudes to hold court and talk informed smack about the game on the screen. Classic!

So Kelly popped into my head when I heard the news that Jen Welter was recently hired by the Arizona Cardinals as the first female coach (intern) in NFL history. Check out Welter’s unique set of qualifications for this role:

  • She played rugby in college
  • She was on the Dallas Diamonds team in the Women’s Football Alliance (as a linebacker) for more than a decade
  • Last year, she was recruited to play running back for the minor league (men’s) indoor team, Texas Revolution
  • She became part of the coaching staff (assistant coach) of the Texas Revolution

Bonus: she’s looking forward to being a role model for little girls who as passionate about sports as she is. The New York Times quoted her:

“I want little girls to grow up knowing that when they put their mind to something, when they work hard, that they can do anything regardless [of the expectations of others]”

Good luck, Jen, you’re going to kick some butt! I look forward to following your career. 

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LizzLoves Women Coaching in the NBA August 8, 2014

Photo courtesy of WNBA

Becky Hammon, Photo courtesy of WNBA

Did your jaw drop yesterday when you heard the news? Did you think this day would ever come? I have to be honest…I didn’t! As cool as I knew it would be for a woman to be a coach for an NBA team, I just couldn’t see it truly happening. But, yes folks, this week it was announced that Becky Hammon was hired as the first full-time female hire for an NBA coaching staff — as assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs. In her own basketball career, Becky has been a standout — with nearly 16 seasons under her belt in the WNBA, and seven times as an All-Star. So the woman knows her stuff…and then some!

We can do air high-fives and hat tips to Becky, we should definitely also give shout-outs to a few women who paved the path for her to step into this prestigious role:

  • Most recently, Natalie Nakase, who coached the L.A. Clippers summer league this year, and cut her teeth 3 years ago as head coach of the Saitama Broncos in Japan, as the first female head coach in Japanese men’s professional basketball.
  • Nancy Lieberman, who coached the Dallas Mavericks’ D-League team in 2009
  • Lisa Boyer, a volunteer assistant on Cleveland Cavaliers’ staff in 2001-02.
Natalie Nakase, Photo courtesy of NPR.org

Natalie Nakase, Photo courtesy of NPR.org

But Becky Hammon said it best:

“There’s women that have trail-blazed much bigger paths and really trail-blazed the path for things like this to happen. There’s a lot more important things going on, in the bigger things, CEOs of companies. Women are really in every area. They’re in the surgery rooms. They’re doctors. They’re lawyers. They’re COOs. So even me sitting here today to be able to have the playing experience that I had as a professional basketball player, women went before me to pave that trail. So I’m really just reaping benefits of all their hard work and labor.”

Much respect to Becky for acknowledging her sisters who have made it possible for her, and other women in the future, to use their skills, experience and passion for the game to lead other talented athletes to success.