Jennifer King is out to break barriers in the NFL. The former Carolina Panthers coaching intern took a similar role with Ron Rivera in Washington this past season and was officially promoted Tuesday as the team’s next running backs coach.
She is the second woman in league history to be named to an assistant position after Tampa Bay’s assistant defensive line coach Lori Locust, who’ll be just the second woman ever to coach in a Super Bowl.
What sets King apart is the Eden, North Carolina native is now the first African-American woman to coach in the NFL. She spent the 2020 season as a full-year coaching intern under Rivera and was focused on the offensive game plan from week-to-week.
“The sky is truly the limit for her,” Rivera said about King. “She got the chance to experience not only the in-season work that goes into being a full-time coach in this league but also the countless hours that are spent preparing in the offseason, as well.
“She demonstrated all of the qualities that are needed to work full time on my staff. She is a hard worker, a great communicator and a quality person. Coach King is always eager to learn and has shown tremendous growth since starting here last season.”
King, 36, has spent three separate stints under Rivera, twice with Carolina and again in Washington. The two met at the NFL’s Women’s Forum in 2018, where King expressed an interest to coach in the league to Rivera. She was hired as an intern by the Panthers in that same year, working with their wide receivers.
Before coaching in the NFL, King spent three seasons as a head basketball coach at Johnson & Wales University. She won a national championship in 2018 along with being named the USCAA Women’s Division II Coach of the Year. King was also an assistant basketball coach at UNC Greensboro for a decade until 2016.
King now has the chance to grow in Washington with the possibility of becoming the NFL’s first female head coach.W