Jennifer King, a former professional women’s football player and ex-college football coach, has been training with NFL coaches and was praised recently by league executives for her aptitude for the game and her quality of character. 

The Washington Football Team promoted King on Tuesday, who had been working this past season as an intern with the team, to assistant running backs coach. The promotion makes King the first full-time Black female assistant coach in the NFL, ESPN reported.

She joins Tampa Bay Buccaneers assistant defensive line coach Lori Locust as the only women assistant coaches in league history, according to Today. King spent the 2020 season as a full-year coaching intern under Ron Rivera and worked with Randy Jordan, the running backs coach.

Washington's running backs were the fulcrum of the team’s offense, as rookie Antonio Gibson finished the year rushing for 795 yards and 11 touchdowns, and secondary running back J.D. McKissic grew his pass-catching skill out of the backfield, having caught a career-best 80 passes for 589 yards, ESPN reported. Gibson played most of his collegiate career at wide receiver but had an impressive rookie season transitioning to a lead rusher.



King first worked under coach Rivera in 2018 when he was the head coach of the Carolina Panthers. He said King came to Washington hungry for the opportunity and has put in the work to succeed as a coach in the league.

“The sky is truly the limit for her. 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," Rivera said.

“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,” he added.

Washington’s head running backs coach acknowledged how integral King was in helping develop and relate to players with her communication skills and approach to the game.
“I am very pleased to have Coach King back to assist me full time in the running backs room,” Jordan said. “She was extremely helpful last year in seeing the game from a different perspective, and she was a tremendous communicator in our room. I look forward to continuing to collaborate as we move forward in our program and as she moves forward in her coaching career.”

Prior to her stint in the NFL, King was an offensive assistant at Dartmouth College in 2019. She also participated in the NFL's coaching clinics for three years straight and attended the NFL Women's Career in Football Forum in 2018. As a professional football player, she played for three professional women's football teams in a career that spanned 13 years.

King also won a USCAA Division II national championship during her tenure as the head coach of the Johnson & Wales University Charlotte women's basketball team from 2016 to 2018, according to ESPN.

Earlier this winter, Washington’s playoff game against the Buccaneers was the first to feature women coaches on each side of the field, Today reported. While King coached from Washington’s sideline, Locust and assistant strength and conditioning coach Maral Javadifar opposed her on Tampa Bay’s bench for the Jan. 9 game.