NFL’s Katie Sowers wasn’t allowed to coach a team because parents had ‘concerns’ about her sexuality

Patrick Kelleher
·2-min read

National Football League (NFL) coach Katie Sowers was once stopped from coaching a basketball team because parents had “concerns” about her sexuality.

Before she became the first openly gay and first female coach in Super Bowl history, Sowers competed a basketball scholarship at Goshen College in Indiana. She served as team captain and was seen as a clear choice to stay on as a volunteer assistant coach – but discriminatory views put the plans to bed.

Katie Sowers told Sky Sports that parents expressed “concerns” about her staying on as a volunteer coach on the team.

“At the time the school didn’t even allow professors to be openly gay,” Sowers said.

“There was a school in our Conference that we played against regularly. I had a friend on the basketball team, and they got ‘caught being gay’ – that’s how they explained it at the time – and my friend was kicked off the team. That’s what I was used to growing up.”

During a meeting with her coach, Sowers was told it had been decided she should not stick around with the Goshen College team in a coaching capacity.

NFL coach Katie Sowers was ‘hurt and angry’ at anti-gay snub

“I remember leaving his office and feeling very hurt and angry. I called my mom right away – she’s the most positive person, but she was in tears. She was crying and saying, ‘this is not OK, and I’m so sorry you’re going through this’.”

The heartbreaking moment made Sowers realise that she could either try to reopen the door that had been slammed in her face, or she could go forward and seek out new opportunities.

She ultimately decided to move forward, which is how she ended up on the path to becoming an NFL coach.

Thankfully, Goshen College has since “changed its policies”, Sowers said.

“They have openly apologised for that. It was a learning experience for everyone. When we feel discriminated against, a lot is due to the ignorance of others.

“And the more anger and hatred we hold towards those people, it’s not curing any of that ignorance.”