There's a new football coach at Calvin Coolidge Senior High in DC. They named the new coach last week after the previous coach resigned. Her name is Natalie Randolph. She is 29 years old and it's believed that she is the only female head coach of a high school varsity football team.
Coach Randolph takes on her new job with plenty of experience backing her up. She played six seasons as a receiver for the D.C. Divas of the National Women's Football Association, helping the team to a title in 2006. Ms. Randolph also had the job of assistant coach from 2006-2008 at another DC High School.
The news conference drew a large amount of interest, as you would expect. The Mayor was in attendance as well as a room full of media personnel.This is big news and we can expect a good deal of coverage during the season. I imagine there will be an uncomfortable amount of focus on the Coolidge varsity team. A distraction? Certainly, but it may have more affect on the opposing teams than on the Coolidge players. As Ms. Randolph has witnessed as assistant coach in prior years, the opposing coaches were, perhaps, a little disconcerted at the thought of a woman coaching boys, varsity football.
The players are aware that this is a controversial move and that there will be a lot of naysayers who find this a difficult concept. As one of the players was quoted in The Huffington Post: "I need trash talk as my ammunition to do better," junior defensive tackle Daniel West said. "There's nothing like proving somebody wrong. And I think that's what we're going to have to do this season – because a lot of people have something to say about her being our coach, and I feel like it's my duty and it's the team's duty to prove everybody wrong, to show that it doesn't matter. As soon as we start winning, everybody will want to be on the bandwagon."
This is not the first time that a woman was hired to coach football by a DC high school. In 1985 Wanda Oates was named head coach at Ballou and lasted all of one day in the job. This was due to pressure brought on by opposing coaches who refused to go up against a woman coach. What will it be like in 2010? A far more enlightened reaction, you say? I would guess that the coaches will not be the largest problem this time. How about the parents? How will they feel about a woman coaching their boys?
I imagine ticket sales for Friday night games will be through the roof. It might be worth a trip into DC to catch a game. I hope this lady has some very strong shoulders.