NFL’s First Female Coach Hails from St. John’s

Kathryn Smith, center, is pictured with her parents, Ann and Robert.

St. John’s University, Jamaica, alumna and former men’s basketball student manager Kathryn Smith was recently named the quality control-special teams coach for the Buffalo Bills.

Smith becomes the first female to be named to a full-time coaching position in NFL history.

She worked alongside current Red Storm men’s basketball assistant coach Matt Abdelmassih as student managers for their four years as undergraduates, graduating in 2007 with a degree in sports management.

“I am ecstatic for Kathryn to receive this opportunity,” Abdelmassih said. “She was always hard-working, goal oriented and she always wanted to be in sports in some capacity. This is a great day for women in sports. Kathryn is a pioneer.”

Smith enters her 14th year in the NFL after spending her first 12 seasons working for the New York Jets. In 2015, Smith served as the Bills’ administrative assistant to head coach Rex Ryan.

“Kathryn Smith has done an outstanding job in the seven years that she has worked with our staff,” Ryan said in a statement. “She certainly deserves this promotion based on her knowledge and strong commitment, just to name a couple of her outstanding qualities, and I just know she’s going to do a great job serving in the role of quality control-special teams.”

Smith launched her NFL career as a gameday intern for the Jets in 2003. She was elevated to a college scouting intern for two years before the Jets promoted her to a player personnel assistant after graduation.


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