She got game

John Morris Staff writer

Column by John Morris, Staff writer

Kicking down doors, going through obstacles and breaking through walls are starting to seem like understatements to the progression of women in the work force and now in sports.

Now, women are highly respected figures in sports, but this new trend has become groundbreaking.

You think of Pat Summit, which in most people’s eyes she is not just one of the greatest women college coaches of all time, but also one of the greatest coaches.

To most, that is probably the highest respect we’ve seen a woman have in the sports world.

This summer alone there have been big moves by women in the sports world.

Both the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the National Football League (NFL) have female referees and female coaches, which before recent changes was unheard of.

The NBA was the first to initiate female officials when they hired Violet Palmer and Dee Kantner, two women to reach the highest competitive level in a major U.S. professional sport.

Palmer still officiates basketball while Kantner is now the supervisor of officials in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).

Now, the NBA has its third hired a female official, Lauren Holtkamp, who officiated in the 2014-15 season.

These three women alone have opened the eyes of viewers and helped break the stereotype that women don’t have knowledge about sports or that this is a male dominated world.

These recent hires open the doors for those women who may want that opportunity as well.

The biggest marks to date dealing with woman’s progression in the sports world are the first ever female coach in the NBA as well as the first female coach and official in the NFL.

Becky Hammon, former WNBA star, is the first female to be a NBA basketball coach as the San Antonio Spurs assistant coach.

Hammon took the opportunity in 2015 to coach the Spurs summer league team and won the summer league title.

The Spurs have hired her as a full time assistant coach for the team.

Jennifer Welter is currently a training camp and preseason intern who is coaching inside linebackers for the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals.

The signing with the Cardinals made her the first female coach in the NFL.

Prior to the Cardinal’s signing on Feb. 12, 2015, the Indoor Football League’s Texas Revolution named Welter a coach for linebackers and special teams makes her the first woman to coach in a men’s professional football league.

On Jan. 24, 2014, the Revolution announced signing Jennifer Welter as a running back.

This made her the second female player for a position other than kicker or placekick-holder on a men’s professional football team, and the first at running back.

Sarah Thomas, currently an official for the NFL, is noted for being a pioneer in female officiating.

Thomas was the first woman to officiate a major college football game, the first to officiate a bowl game, and the first to officiate in a Big Ten stadium.

In 2015, Thomas was hired as the first full-time female official in NFL history.

Welter and Thomas met in 2015 in a preseason football game for the first time and the world’s first time seeing a female official and coach on the field at the same time.

These women have changed the world of sports in more ways than one.