On January 20th, 2016, the Buffalo Bills made history. No, they were not marching their way to the Super Bowl; in fact, they weren’t even a playoff team. They were making history by hiring the first female assistant coach the NFL has ever seen.
Kathryn Smith, formerly coach Rex Ryan’s administrative assistant, was hired as the Special Teams Quality Control Coach. Kathryn has worked with coach Ryan since his time with the New York Jets, prior to his arrival in Buffalo. On the Jets, Smith served as a player personnel assistant and intern for the player personnel and scouting departments. Prior to Kathryn Smith’s promotion to full-time assistant coach. Coach Gregg Popovich, of the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs hired Becky Hammon as an Assistant Coach. One of her key responsibilities is scouting as well.
This is where I want to focus my attention. The future of coaching is in analytics. Understanding how to use statistics to improve the player personnel you have today and scout for new talent is how anyone, male or female, will gain an edge on their competition. The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania provides a two-week pre-college program unlike any other in this world. The Wharton Moneyball Academy offers a comprehensive look into the world of Sports Analytics and Statistics, covering roughly a semester’s worth of AP Statistics material and an introduction to the computer program “R”. Both of these, taught in the context of the sports world, give students an introduction to the methods and software that professional scouts and coaches use to build successful organizations from the bottom up. In addition to daily lectures from Wharton professor and leading sports statistician, Professor Adi Wyner, participants will hear talks by leading executives in the sports world.
Taught by Wharton faculty in the Wharton facility in central Philadelphia, applications for the Wharton Moneyball Academy are open now. To learn more about this program, visit the program’s website. Will you be the next female assistant coach, or even better, the first female head coach? The Wharton Moneyball Academy will certainly help you get there!