NFL News

Buccaneers, Bruce Arians smart to hire female coaches

Bruce Arians brings on two female assistant coaches as he prepares for his first season as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Head Coach.

Bruce Arians is no stranger to breaking down barriers. In 2015, he made history as the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals when he hired Jen Welter as an assistant coaching intern for training camp and preseason. Welter was the first woman to coach in the NFL, but her hiring started a trend across the NFL that ensured she wouldn’t be the last.

Now, Arians is making history again by hiring  two female coaching assistants to join him in Tampa Bay. Maral Javadifar will join the team as assistant coach of strength and conditioning, while Lori Locust will be an assistant defensive line coach. The Buccaneers will be the only team with two women on their coaching staff.

“I know how hard it can be to get that first opportunity to coach at the highest level of professional football,” Arians said in a statement released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. “Sometimes, all you need is the right organization to offer up the opportunity.”

Javadifar most recently worked as a physical therapist with Avant Physical Therapy in Seattle. She played basketball at Pace University, where she earned a degree Molecular Biology. She went on to get a Doctor of Physical Therapy from New York Medical College and did her Sports Physical Therapy Residency at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Locust joins the Buccaneers after working as a defensive line coach for the Birmingham Iron of the Alliance of American Football. She previously worked as a defensive coaching intern for the Baltimore Ravens and as a defensive line/linebackers coach and co-special teams coordinator for the Lehigh Valley Steelhawks in the National Arena League. She also spent four years playing semi-pro football.

Arians has also been a leader in hiring black men as NFL coaches. In Arizona, he actively recruited retiring players into the coaching staff. Now, in Tampa Bay, all of his top coaching staff are black men, including offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, defensive coordinator Todd Bowles, and special teams coordinator Keith Armstrong.

Arians doesn’t just talk about diversity. He turns his words into action and its making a difference on the gridiron. Now, he’s taking another step to help diversify the face of NFL coaching.

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