Coaching internships are a route through which people have found their start in the game. Many of those who have been featured for pro football coaching internships in the press have been African-American and/or female. In other words, these positions are not just a potential opportunity for anyone to break into college or NFL coaching; additionally, these football jobs should grab the attention of those who want to coach football and do not have the demographic attributes of traditional coaches.
Below are five such stories in the first section. Those stories start out with a lawyer who became an NFL coach intern and a former NFL cornerback who landed an internship through a league program. Then we will look at the paths taken by three women, one of whom is also notable as the first openly gay coach in Super Bowl history.
In the next section, we will discuss how these football coaching jobs can save careers. That section briefly discusses the college football coaching internships through the University of Alabama program.
How Football Coaching Internships Can Spark Your Career
All these people’s stories are examples of how internships were critical football coaching jobs for people launching their careers:
#1: Daron Roberts — Daron Roberts was all set up to be a high-powered lawyer, a graduate of Harvard Law School, when he decided to set aside that opportunity in pursuit of his football dream. Although Roberts did not have any coaching experience, he contacted every team in the NFL. The only team that was interested in him was Kansas City. After getting his start with a summer internship there, he went on to coach for Detroit and Cleveland before becoming a professor at the University of Texas.
#2: Reggie Howard — There are also NCAA jobs in this category, as indicated by Reggie Howard’s story. Now a Lane College coaching intern, Howard had a very different path and background from Roberts. He came to his role at Lane College through the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) Coaching Internship. This program connects former players with entry-level NCAA football coaching jobs. Having played for Miami and Carolina over a seven-year NFL career, Howard was able to land the Lane College position and begin developing his career.
#3: Katie Powers – You may know the name Katie Powers from Super Bowl LIV in February 2020. On the sidelines for San Francisco, she was part of an offensive staff that was second overall both in points and rushing for the 2019 NFL season. When the 49ers made the Super Bowl, Powers became the first female and openly gay Super Bowl coach. She is also popular with the team, with Jimmy Garoppolo calling her “feisty” and “awesome.” Powers came to the NFL with experience in the Women’s Football Alliance, in which she played both defensive back and quarterback. Then she got her start as an intern for the Atlanta Falcons before joining San Francisco.
#4: Jen Welter – While Powers was a pioneer, she was preceded in football coaching internships by Jen Welter. Welter became the first woman to coach in the NFL when she was hired by Bruce Arians in 2015 as an preseason intern for Arizona. Welter played rugby in college and professional football in an open-tryout women’s league. She eventually won two gold medals in the Women’s World Championship of the International Federation of American Football (2010 and 2013).
#5: Jennifer King — Jennifer King is the third women’s pioneer who has made headlines in recent years through careers sparked by football coaching internships. King is the first full-time NFL intern who is an African-American woman. King was an offensive assistant coach at Dartmouth College. Ron Rivera then hired her as a coaching summer intern for the wide receivers in Carolina. When Rivera transferred to Washington, he hired King for her first full season as an intern.
- Football Varsity Assistant Coach (Las Vegas, NV)
High School Coaching - West Region
- Football Varsity Assistant Coach (Leland, NC)
High School Coaching - Southeast Region
- Assistant Football Coach – Offensive Coordinator - NCAA
Sports Services - Northeast Region
- Football Varsity Assistant Coach (NC)
High School Coaching - Southeast Region
How Football Coaching Internships Can Save Your Career
Neither pro nor college football coaching internships are entirely reserved for newcomers – as evidenced by Nick Saban’s program at the University of Alabama. Butch Jones, Mike Stoops, and Major Applewhite are former head coaches who lost their positions at other schools. Saban hired them as interns and analysts, showing how these NCAA coaching jobs can extend and revive careers.
How to Get a Football Coaching Internship
If you want a football internship, it’s not just about getting inspired by the success stories of others. You need to take strategic action. Through JobsInSports.com, you can connect with more than 5000 sports industry professionals. Join our network today and find the dream sports job you’ve always wanted.