The 49ers’ first-ever female coach was on the field Tuesday, familiarizing herself with the team’s wide receivers and studying their footwork.
Katie Sowers is one of eight interns who will be working with the 49ers at this week’s minicamp and in training camp as part of the diversity fellowship that Bill Walsh began in San Francisco in 1986.
Sowers, a former quarterback and defensive back in women’s football leagues, worked last year for the Atlanta Falcons alongside then-Falcons offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and Mike LaFleur, who is the 49ers’ wide receivers coach.
“She came in and worked with the receivers and did as good of a job as anyone I’ve had in the internship,” Shanahan said Tuesday. “… We loved having her around. She was eager to learn it; she has played professional football in a women’s league in the United States for a while and she’s passionate about it.”
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Following her summer internship last year, Sowers spent the next nine months as a scouting intern with the Falcons.
“She just hit me up a few months ago and said her internship was up over there and asked if we would want to have her here,” Shanahan said. “There was no doubt. She does a good job and we’re excited to have her.”
Sowers is one of several female assistants in the NFL this year. The Bills and Jets also have brought on women as part of the internship program. Last year, Buffalo hired Kathryn Smith as a full-time special teams quality control coach. In 2015, the Cardinals made Jen Welter the first-ever female assistant coaching intern.
Seeing a female on the field isn’t exactly new in Santa Clara. Laura Schnettgoecke has been an assistant athletic trainer for the last three seasons.
The 49ers’ other coaching interns this year are: Alonzo Carter, Nick Ferguson, Corey Ivy, Jerrod Johnson, Rony Sieperda, Donald White and Rodrique Wright.