When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lured Bruce Arians out of retirement to become the franchise’s next head coach, the winds of change began to swirl. Arians had already hired the NFL’s first-ever female coach, Jen Welter, when he coached the Arizona Cardinals. The forward-thinking, offensive guru understands coaching talent when he sees it, regardless of what gender that person might be. Arians continues to give the most important aspect needed to create change: an opportunity.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hired Lori Locust and Maral Javadifar to their coaching staff, becoming the first NFL team with two women in full-time coaching roles. Locust was hired as an assistant defensive line coach with nine years of experience, while Javadifar will use her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree to serve as an assistant strength and conditioning coach.
“Sometimes, all you need is the right organization to offer up the opportunity. The Glazer family and our general manager, Jason Licht, were extremely supportive of my decision, and I know Maral and Lori will be great additions to my coaching staff.
“I have known Lori going back to my days at Temple University and I’ve seen firsthand just how knowledgeable and passionate she is about this game. I was equally impressed with Maral’s background in performance training and physical therapy and I know she will be a valuable asset to our strength and conditioning program.”
— Buccaneers Head Coach Bruce Arians
Locust most recently worked as defensive line coach with the Birmingham Iron of The Alliance of American Football, which shows that players aren’t the only ones being called up from the AAF. In 2018, Locust was a defensive coaching intern with the Baltimore Ravens during training camp, then coached defensive line, linebackers and special teams with the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks of the National Arena League. She also played women’s semi-professional football for four years.
Javadifar earned her doctorate degree from New York Medical College and her Molecular Biology degree from Pace University, where she also played college basketball. She’s been a guest lecturer with George Mason University and completed a Sports Physical Therapy Residency at Virginia Commonwealth in 2018. She most recently worked as a physical therapist in Seattle.
These are two more dominos to fall and adds further evidence that coaching football has nothing to do with your gender. This game is physical and demanding, but football is more mental than physical. That’s not speculation, that’s a fact.
Locust and Javadifar earned these full-time positions through years of dedication. For everyone who’s going to doubt them and criticize them on the basis of gender, have fun watching them coach at the highest level of professional football on Sundays and doing what you never could.