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San Francisco 49ers retain Katie Sowers, NFL’s first openly gay assistant coach

Sowers will once again work with the team’s receivers.

NFL: Carolina Panthers at San Francisco 49ers
Katie Sowers greets 49ers running back Raheem Mostert prior to a game.
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Katie Sowers will back in the 2018 NFL season as an offensive assistant coach with the San Francisco 49ers, a team spokesman told Outsports.

Sowers, 31, made news last season when she came out publicly as gay, the first NFL assistant to do so. She is also only the second female assistant coach in league history.

She was part of the staff of Kyle Shanahan, whose 49ers went 6-10, including five straight wins to close out the season. Optimism is high in San Francisco since all five wins came under quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, acquired during the season in a trade with the New England Patriots.

Sowers worked with the 49ers receivers and received praise for her abilities as a coach. Kyle Juszczyk, the 49ers’ Pro Bowl football, told Outsports’ Jeremy Brener how Sowers helped him become a better receiver.

“Katie’s been phenomenal,” Juszczyk said. “She’s someone we’ve been able to lean on. If I ever have a question on a route or something, no hesitation and I can go talk to her. She’s a phenomenal asset to our team.”

Her interview with me was the only one Sowers did last season as she focused instead on doing her job. This did not stop her from acknowledging her unique role as both LGBT and a woman in a straight man’s profession, using Instagram as a platform.

On National Coming Out Day, she wrote: “Happy National Coming Out Day. No matter who you are, continue living your truth and showing compassion for others seeking theirs.”

She also had a great comeback when Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton laughed at a question from a female Carolina reporter, saying, “It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes.” In response, Sowers posted on Instagram:

A post shared by Katie Sowers (@katesowers5) on

The 49ers’ 2018 schedule will be released by the NFL sometime in April.