Former KC teammates, co-workers saw spark in 49ers' female coach Katie Sowers, who's making history

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — She has a tattoo of the Kansas City skyline on her left arm, but Katie Sowers will be on the San Francisco 49ers sideline on Super Bowl Sunday.

Sowers, an offensive assistant coach with the 49ers, will become the first woman and the first openly-LGBTQ coach to head to the big game.

It’s a meteoric rise for the 33-year-old Kansas native who just four years ago spent Super Bowl Sunday in the FOX4 studio talking about women’s future in football.

Already a top athlete on the football field as a quarterback first for Kansas City’s Tribe and then the Titans, Sowers was Kansas City Parks and Recreation’s athletic director at the time.

“She was always pushing, trying to get more young ladies involved,” parks department Deputy Director Roosevelt Lyons said.

In 2016, she told her supervisor she had a shot at the NFL, not as a player but a coach.

“We talked a lot about this being her dream job, and at the time it was an internship and it was a real big gamble,” Lyons recalled.

At that point, there had only been one female coach in NFL history, but former teammate Keke Blackmon said for those who knew her, it was no gamble at all.

“Just the way she carried herself, I knew she’d be great at it. I had no problems in believing in her skill level and the way she’d be able to communicate with anyone and get that message across. Players are players,” Blackmon said.

Sowers earned a full time job as an assistant offensive coach with the San Francisco 49ers in 2017.

Her former teammate Blackmon went into coaching as well and is now head coach of Kansas City’s new women’s tackle football team, the Kansas City Glory of the Women’s National Football Conference.

“We’ve always had coaching in our blood and loved it with a passion, and now to be able to give back what we’ve learned is amazing,” Blackmon said.

Blackmon said she’d love to coach in the NFL as well, but she’s just as happy coaching women.

With Sowers on the Super Bowl sideline everyone involved with the women’s game hopes Sowers can accomplish the goals she first set out to accomplish in KC’s rec leagues — getting more female players involved in sports and more fans attracted to watching them.

“Katie is definitely paving the way for women’s football,” Glory President Vicki Kestermont said.

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