Mar 28, 2019

WHAT HISTORY SOUNDS LIKE: ARIANS ON TWO FEMALE ASSISTANTS

Last week the Tampa Bay Buccaneers became the first NFL team in history to hire two women as full-time assistant coaches.

This week at NFL league meetings in Phoenix, the man who made that history, Bucs coach Bruce Arians, talked to reporters about his adding Lori Locust and Maral Javadifar to his staff.

“It’s time. It’s time and I’ll be happy when it’s not news anymore. That’s where it should be heading.

“Two super-qualified people. (Lori Locust and Maral Javadifar.)

“I had Dr. (Jen) Welter with me here (in Arizona) and it worked out fine. (Welter became first female assistant coach in NFL history when Arians hired her in 2015.)

“Lori went to school at Temple with (Arizona defensive coordinator) Todd (Bowles) and (Arizona defensive assistant) Kevin (Ross) so I knew of her career and I knew how hard she’s worked to get to this opportunity.

“(Between) the job she did in Birmingham with the Iron and (AAF Birmingham Iron GM) Joe Pendry’s recommendation, I was sold. 

New Tampa Bay Buccaneers assistant coach Lori Locust

“Maral (Javadifar), she’s a specialist and it was an area we needed in body mechanics and physical therapy and things in our weight room and our sports science program so she was a perfect fit there.

“They’re just they’re good fits for what we need and the fact that their gender is different, who gives a shit, they’re good coaches. 

“I always go back to Dot Murphy at Hinds (MS) junior college when I was at Mississippi State. She was one of the best receiver coaches I’d ever seen. 

“This was 25 years ago and so when you ask me, ‘can women coach?,’ hell yeah.

“I mean I’ve seen it and it’s just getting opportunities and it’s hard for young guys too, this is a unique position in the NFL and so you have to have ownership, (and the) general manager willing to step there and let them come in and show that they can (be an NFL coach).

“Now if they can’t do it, you get fired like everybody else.

“Our linebackers just went straight to Jen (Welter at Arizona in 2015) because she had a different way of teaching and the players in Birmingham they absolutely love her as a coach. 

“Every NFL player is going to look at you and say, ‘how can you make me better?,’ if you have an answer you’re in. If you can’t answer the question  you don’t belong there anyway. They (Locust and Javadifar) can answer the question.

“I think back to the best teachers I’ve ever had, most of them are female. (In) football, we’re glorified schoolteachers.

“So why not take a great teacher of any gender and let them help your players.

“I don’t see it as an issue and I’m looking forward to the day when it’s not news.”

New Tampa Bay Buccaneers Assistant Coach Maral Javadifar

Arians was then asked by an off-camera media member, “How far away do you think we are from that?

Arians: “Probably five years, I hope sooner. I think the AAF doing a great job of a (providing a) proving ground for a lot of coaches especially female coaches and I applaud Bill Polian for making that happen.

Arians was then asked by another media member, “How often has come up among your peers here? You’ve been out here for a couple days, do you get the sense that other guys are willing to embrace this trend?

Arians: “I think so. Rex (Ryan) did it and when he was at Buffalo so it’s finding the right person for your staff and but honestly no one’s mentioned it among the coaches. No one’s mentioned it.

If you ever wondered if the events you are witnessing will some day be regarded by future generations as “history,” you can be assured that what Arians has done will qualify.