When Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ new head coach Bruce Arians stated he wished to hire female assistant coaches to his team, thousands welcomed the news.
It was about time female coaches got the recognition they deserved. Not because they are women because they are qualified for the job.
By hiring Lori Locust, assistant defensive line coach and Maral Javadifar, assistant strength and conditioning coach, the Bucs became the first NFL team with two female coaches on staff in the league.
Arians meant what he said at the NFL Combine
Arians said: “I know how hard it can be to get that first opportunity to coach at the highest level of professional football.
“Sometimes, all you need is the right organisation 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.”
These women are no strangers to the game.
Locust was the defensive line coach for the Alliance of American Football’s Birmingham Iron.
She had previously interned with the Baltimore Ravens during their training camp last year.
Javadifar worked as a physical therapist and performance trainer in Seattle and Virginia.
She played basketball at University and recently completed her sports physical therapy residency at VCU in August.
Arians’ is true to his word.
He stated at the combine this year he planned to hire a woman in a full-time coaching capacity. And boy did he.
Can they help guide the Bucs to the playoffs?
It is not the first time either Arians has hired a female.
In 2015, he hired Jen Welter as a training camp intern with the Arizona Cardinals. This made her the first woman to hold an NFL coaching position.
So is this the beginning for more female coaches? Is the landscape changing for good?
One thing is certain, Locust and Javadifar will be part of a fresh regime tasked with turning around a franchise that has not made the playoffs since 2007.
Not impossible by any means.