The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a brand new coaching staff and now, thanks to Bruce Arians the team has hired for first time in franchise history full-time female assistant coaches, Lori Locust and Maral Javadifar.
Locust’s official title will be an assistant defensive line coach, and Javadifar’s title will be an assistant strength and conditioning coach. They follow in the footsteps of the first female coach in NFL history, Jennifer Welter, who in 2015 interned for the Arizona Cardinals, working six weeks over the summer as an assistant linebackers coach under Bob Sanders.
Welter was the first woman to ever be in a coaching position in the NFL, and the head coach that hired her was, of course, Bruce Arians.
Lori Locust seemingly came out of nowhere, but Locust has known Arians since her ex-husband, Andrew Locust, played for him at Temple University where she also went to college. Locust, from Harrisburg, PA. decided to join a women’s team in Harrisburg, though she was almost 40-years old. She played four seasons before suffering a career-ending injury that forced her to the sidelines. Locust began coaching over ten years ago at the high school, semi-pro, and arena-league levels.
Locust coached at her alma mater Susquehanna Township High School and also coached semi-pro football as an assistant coach with the Central Penn Piranha for three years and two years with the DMV Elite.
Locust, also coached two seasons with the Keystone Assault of the Women’s Football Alliance. She was a defensive assistant, defensive lineman/linebackers coach and co-special teams coordinator. Arians while back home in York, PA. heard Locust earned a Bill Walsh internship with the Baltimore Ravens as a defensive assistant. Locust, before joining the Tampa Bay staff served as the defensive line coach for Birmingham Iron of the Alliance of American Football.
Javadifar was a physical therapist at Avant Physical Therapy in Seattle, after finishing her Sports Physical Therapy Residency at Virginia Commonwealth in August 2018. Javadifar also worked as a physical therapist and performance trainer in Virginia, while being a guest lecturer at George Mason University. A native of Queens, New York, Javadifar has a Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology from Pace and a Doctorate of Physical Therapy degree from New York Medical College.
Now you know their backgrounds, but the big question is the NFL it’s fans and it’s players ready for women forging deeper into the league, this time not as cheerleaders but in the locker rooms and sidelines as assistants and coaches. The NFL hasn’t had such a huge change since 2002 and the Rooney Rule that brought about the overall percentage had jumped in 2006 of African-American coaches jump from 22%, up from 6% prior to the Rooney Rule last.
The arguments will be they never played in high school or college against men or got hit by a 300-pound tackle or run a route over the middle knowing a safety or linebacker is waiting to take their helmet off. The argument will be it’s 2019 women can do anything a man can do and should be treated as equal.