First Female Coach of the NFL| Hall of Fame
Dr. Jen Welter is the first female to coach in the NFL. In the summer of 2015, she served as a linebackers coach for the Arizona Cardinals, a period of time defined by the bond she has formed with the players. Widely known as a trailblazer and pioneer in professional football, becoming the first woman to coach in the NFL was only her most recent first. In 2014, Welter became the first woman to play running back in a men’s professional football league. In early 2015, Welter was hired as the first female coach in men’s professional football, helping coach the most successful Revolution season in franchise history. Prior to joining the world of men’s professional football,Welter had a highly decorated 14 year career in women’s professional football which included four National Championships and two gold medals as a member of Team USA in the 2010 and 2013 International Federation of American Football’s (IFAF) Women’s World Championship.
In her own words, Coach Jen often says, “sports have the power to change the world.” With that philosophy as a guiding principle, she has become an innovator in the sports and fitness space. She is known for looking at the game of football differently, and has designed programs to increase access and opportunity to and through football.
Dr. Jen’s Programs include:
Grrridiron Girls: a national tour of flag football camps which empower girls through football by proving, “there is no game you cannot play, and no field you do not belong in or on.”
A Day In The Life: Dr Jen gives women insight and access to the game of football through her program, “A Day in the Life. Explaining that football is full contact chess, women get the opportunity learn the individual chess pieces and how they fit together to make players work. Women literally get into the game by getting them out onto the field. A Day in the Life,” debuted with the Washington Redskins women’s program in 2015.
Camp On the Corner: Sports change many people’s lives, in many cases causing them to make a choice. In response to the tough choices kids face every day on corners in neighborhoods like the South Side of Chicago, Camp on the Corner was born. “You can’t hold a gun and catch a football at the same time, you have to make a choice.” So, why not use sports, such as football as a proactive mechanism to teach kids lessons and characteristics which help empower them to make the right choices.
In addition to coaching on the field, Welter has become a regular empowerment speaker and advocate. Welter has become a regular empowerment and sports speaker sharing the stage at events with sports and political giants like Serena Williams and Condoleeza Rice. As guest editor of Wired Magazine, Serena Williams highlighted Welter as one of her Trailblazers, 10 heroes who are showing the way forward to a better, fairer world for all. Welterwas recognized at the United Nations as Sports Pioneer of the Year on Women’s Entrepreneurship Day. ESPNW named her one of the 25 most influential women in sport in 2015. The Arizona Women’s Foundation awarded her the Voice of Women Award in 2018.
Dr. Jen is on the Advisory Board of the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Game for Life Academy and an Ambassador for the She is Campaign.
Welter holds a doctorate degree in Psychology, a Master’s in Sport Psychology, and a Bachelor’s degree from Boston