Collette Smith becomes 3rd woman to coach in NFL
44-year-old's football knowledge is 'outstanding' says Jets' Todd Bowles
Collette Smith made some coaching history with the New York Jets.
The first female coach in franchise history made her debut as a defensive assistant Saturday during the team's opening practice of training camp.
The 44-year-old Smith is serving as a coaching intern on Todd Bowles' coaching staff through the summer. She will work as an assistant under defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson.
Smith is the third woman to coach in the NFL, joining Kathryn Smith, who was a quality control coach in Buffalo last year, and Jen Walter, who was a coaching intern for Arizona during training camp in 2015.
Bowles said defensive backs intern Collette Smith has "outstanding" football knowledge, so gender had nothing to do w/ her hiring <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/jets?src=hash">#jets</a> <a href="https://t.co/ZE2kFmsErY">pic.twitter.com/ZE2kFmsErY</a>—@KMart_LI
Bowles said Saturday that he met Smith over a year ago when she attended a few Jets practices.
"Just talking to her over the course of time, her football knowledge is outstanding," Bowles said. "It's all male interns so far, and I thought it would be a good idea to bring in a female intern. And that's strictly off her skillset, not because she's female or anything else. She's a good football coach."
Smith, a native of Queens, New York, grew up rooting for the Jets, according to an interview with the New York Daily News. She played three seasons with the New York Sharks in the Independent Women's Football League. She also served as an assistant defensive backs coach with the Sharks, as well as working as the team's director of marketing.
"We got to talking a lot and she fits in with the guys," Bowles said, "so we gave her a chance."