UCM alumna Katie Sowers, offensive assistant coach for the San Francisco 49ers, is making Super Bowl history in 2020 as the first female and the first openly gay coach to ever walk the sidelines.
Sowers has been with the 49ers for the past four seasons, starting out as part of the 2017 Bill Walsh Minority Fellowship and then later working as seasonal offensive assistant for the 2017 season.
She has worked as the offensive assistant coach since.
Before joining the 49ers, Sowers worked with the Atlanta Falcons during their offseason and training camps alongside assistant head coach and wide receiver coach Raheem Morris.
Afterwards she spent nine months as a scouting intern with the Falcons.
Sowers attended both Hesston College and Goshen College to get her bachelor’s degree. While completing her studies she started her football career in the Women’s Football Alliance, playing first for the West Michigan Mayhem and then for the Kansas City Titans.
While with the Titans, Sowers was a member of the United States women’s national football team that won the 2013 IFAF Women’s World Championship.
She played for the Women’s Football Alliance until 2016, when she retired due to a hip injury.
“I remember that Katie was a very motivated student who always held herself to a high standard. She had three areas of interest in which she focused most of her research and coursework. Now when one looks back at those three areas of trends and issues that she was passionate about, you could almost foresee her future” said Bradley Mears, a UCM professor who taught Sowers.
Mears said that her areas of interest were in gender equality in sports: the effects of societal views on female athletes, Title IX and the idea of reverse discrimination, and controversy related to gender balance within coaching.
She graduated from UCM in 2012 with a master’s degree in kinesiology with an emphasis in pedagogy.