Kelsey Martinez Breaks Ground As Raiders’ First Female Assistant Coach

By Matt Kawahara
San Francisco Chronicle

WWR ARticle Summary (tl;dr) Five years ago, there were no women in full-time roles on NFL coaching staffs. Currently, there are three — Kelsey Martinez, Katie Sowers with the 49ers and Phoebe Schecter with the Bills.

San Francisco Chronicle

Kelsey Martinez crawled at five months old and walked at nine months, says her mother, Khris Fuentes. She rode her first bike without training wheels. She hated being inside and spent much of her childhood in Pueblo, Colo., outdoors and playing sports.

“She was in the trees, she was playing baseball, you name it,” Fuentes said. “Everything that the boys could do, she could do.”

And still, when Martinez told her mother she intended to pursue a coaching job in the NFL, Fuentes figured there would be challenges.

“I told her, ‘That’s great, and I want you to have goals like that, and I hope you can achieve that,'” Fuentes said. ” ‘Just know that’s a male-dominant type of career — or not even really career, just atmosphere.'”

That conversation, Fuentes said, happened a little over a year ago. Martinez is now in her first season as a strength and conditioning assistant for the Raiders. She’s the first female assistant coach in the team’s history and the only female strength coach in the NFL. Sunday, her family and friends will make the trip to Denver to watch her at work as the Raiders play the Broncos.

At 26, Martinez is once again the embodiment of forward progress.
——
In the NFL, it seems, the times are catching up.

Five years ago, there were no women in full-time roles on NFL coaching staffs. Currently, there are three — Martinez, Katie Sowers with the 49ers and Phoebe Schecter with the Bills.

Lee Brandon was the NFL’s first female assistant strength coach with the New York Jets in 1990. Jen Welter became the NFL’s first female position coach in 2015 when she was hired by Arizona to coach linebackers in training camp and preseason. Kathryn Smith became the first woman in a full-time NFL assistant coach role in 2016, as a special teams quality control coach for Buffalo.

Related News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *