Before joining the Buffalo Bills in 2015, Smith spent her entire professional career with the New York Jets. In 2009 Rex Ryan became the Jets head coach. At the time Smith’s position with the team was as a player personnel assistant, before becoming the administrative assistant. Both Ryan and Smith moved to Buffalo in 2015. Their history at the Jets means there is a well-established familiarity with coaching styles.
3. Rank Riser
From 2003-2004, while completing a sports management program at St. John’s University in Queens, Smith began her journey with the New York Jets working as a game-day and special events intern. In 2005 she became college scouting intern and in 2007 she moved up the ranks becoming a player personnel assistant. These past positions give her a skill set beneficial to her new role.
4. A team of women
The Buffalo Bills isn’t a team dominated by testosterone. Along with her husband Terry, Kim Pegula co-owns the team and Linda Bogdan, daughter of teams founder Ralph Wilson, worked as a scout and vice president until her death in 2009. The team’s legacy is full of powerful women who aren’t afraid of hard work. Becoming the NFL’s first female coach in a team with a strong female presence means that Smith will no doubt have the support to succeed in the position.
Having received the same attention last year over at the Arizona Cardinals, Dr. Jen Welter’s advice for Kathryn is to ‘be open and help where you can, but really learn a lot.’ Who knows a year from now Kathryn might be delivering similar advice to other female coaches.