Washington Commanders assistant running backs coach Jennifer King walks on the field before an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2023, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

Typically, it is uncommon to find women working in the NFL because historically, it has been seen as a male-dominated field. However, in recent years, there has been progress with more women breaking into roles within the organization, such as coaching, officiating, and front office positions, showing that gender barriers are gradually being broken down. Jennifer King recently made history by becoming the first female coach hired by the Chicago Bears. King will work as an assistant running backs coach.

Bears Head Coach Matt Eberflus is stoked to have King as part of the franchise.

“We are extremely excited to welcome Jennifer King to the Chicago Bears family,” Eberflus said. “She brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to our football team. She has a contagious spirit and coaches the game with immense passion. We are looking forward to working with her and seeing the positive impact that she will have on the Chicago Bears.” (Chicagobears.com)

The North Carolina native’s background in sports as a coach and athlete helped her land the new position in Chicago. King’s athletic journey started at Guilford College where she competed  in both basketball and softball. After graduating in 2006 King went on to play in the Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) league. She played as a quarterback and wide receiver for the Carolina Phoenix from 2006 to 2017. Then, in 2018, she was a defensive back and receiver for the New York Sharks. Finally, in 2019, King played as a safety for the D.C. Divas.

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King also spent a decade as an assistant coach at Greensboro College. She advanced to become the head coach at Johnson & Wales in North Carolina in 2016. In her second year leading the team, she guided them to win the USCAA Division II national championship, marking the peak of her career in women’s college basketball coaching.

King’s first encounter with the league was when she met former Panthers Head Coach Ron Rivera. She met him in 2018 at the NFL Women’s Forum where she showcased strong aspirations of working in the NFL. Carolina hired her as a coaching intern later that same year, and she worked there for two seasons.

In 2020, King followed Rivera to the Commanders as a coaching intern. A year later, she made history as the first Black woman to become a full-time NFL coach when Washington promoted her to assistant running backs coach. She held that position for the last three seasons.

King is very excited for the next chapter of her coaching career especially with the Bears.

“Chicago is a great city, and the Bears organization is historic,” King said. “I started paying attention to the Bears playing video games like Tecmo Bowl back in the day because Walter Payton was unstoppable in the game. I used to always play with them on there. Then obviously working for coach Rivera, he’s been so important in my life and him being a part of those historic defenses with the Bears as well. It’s definitely an exciting time. Hopefully we can hit the ground running and get ready for 2024.” (Chicagobears.com)