D.C. High School Hires Its First Female Head Football Coach

Filed under: In The News

Natalie Randolph coaches players at H.D. Woodson, where she was an assistant coach before being named head coach at Coolidge High School. Credit: Preston Keres, TWP/Getty Images

The new football coach at Coolidge High School in Washington, D.C., is tough, experienced ... and a woman.

Natalie Randolph, a 29-year-old science teacher at Coolidge who played five seasons for the D.C. Divas of the Independent Women's Professional League, took a colleague's advice and put her name in the running.

"The first thing is, I love football, no matter whose domain it is. I'm going to do it. If I let people dictate what I do, I wouldn't be where I am," Randolph tells The Washington Post.

Coolidge Principal Thelma Jarrett says school administrators considered the scrutiny that Randolph's hiring would bring both the football program and the school.

"We're ready for that," Jarrett tells the Post. "We need a leader, a role model, a coordinator and an instructor for our young men."

Despite the fact that she is one of only two female head football coaches in the country -- she joins Debbie Vance, who has coached Lehman High in the Bronx, N.Y., the past two seasons -- Randolph downplays the role that gender plays in her new post.

"While I'm proud to be a part of what this all means, being female has nothing to do with it," Randolph tells the newspaper. Still, at least one player's mom is excited about what a female coach could mean for the team.

"A female coach will be more compassionate, more concerned about the children getting home at a certain time, and not just making it all about football," Zarunda Pratt, whose son, Dayon, is a sophomore wide receiver, tells the Post.

Players seem unfazed by the fact that their new coach is a woman.

"We all have mothers, so that's a coach," player Oluwakemi Bamiro tells the Post. "It's not going to be any different."



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