Natalie Randolph, former wide receiver for the D.C. Divas women's pro football team, has been named the head football coach at Calvin Coolidge Senior High School. She is the only woman to hold that job in the entire United States.
This morning, Randolph will be formally named the head football coach at the high school where she currently teaches science. Although this is a rare role for women to fill, Randolph has a good deal of experience with the game. Not only did she play with the Divas, she also worked as an assistant football coach at the H.D. Woodson High School in 2006 and 2007.
Lawrence Wilson, Randolph's attorney, says he "would expect some type of hesitancy about having a female coach, but I haven't seen it." He obviously hasn't been reading the comments over at the Washington Post or even at CNN where his own quotes were published. While internet commenters are not necessarily the best examples of public opinion - or human life, for that matter - they do answer Petula Dvorak's question "why is this news?" Randolph's new job is only news because people are sexist idiots, and many still believe that a woman can't play football, much less coach a bunch of rowdy teenage boys into a winning team.
Randolph has already dealt with the most important critics - her future players. She was introduced to the Coolidge team after school on Tuesday, according to the Washington Post. Some boys displayed skepticism, but Randolph "shot them down" when they tried to test her knowledge of football. "At the end, they were clapping for her," says a source.
And Carol A. White, who worked as an assistant coach at Georgia Tech 41 years ago, points out that coaching isn't gender specific. "What is coaching? It's inspiring kids. It requires knowledge of people, patience in dealing with people, attention to detail and positive self-image," she "barked" at Dvorak. Randolph has opted not to respond to the media furor until after the press conference today, but she did say this in a statement:
I'm flattered at the outpouring of support and encouragement from the D.C. football and academic community. I know how important high school football is to these young men, the parents, the school, and the Coolidge community. I plan on taking this opportunity and running with it.
Provided her ovaries don't get in the way, of course.
A Female Football Coach? The Big Deal Is That Some People Still Think It's One [Washington Post]
Natalie Randolph To Coach Coolidge High School Football Team [Washington Post]
Woman To Be High School's Head Football Coach [CNN]
Image via Washington Post