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Jennifer King makes history as Bears' first female coach


The addition of Jennifer King to Matt Eberflus' coaching staff as assistant running backs coach is a milestone moment for the Bears.

King, 39, becomes the first female coach in the franchise's 104-year history.

"Jennifer King is an exceptional leader and passionate coach who will be a positive addition to the Chicago Bears," President & CEO Kevin Warren said. "As the first full-time Black female coach in the history of the National Football League, Jennifer has established herself as a hard worker, pioneer, and trailblazer."

There are currently 12 women in full-time coaching roles on nine NFL teams.

King grew up in Reidsville, N.C. She attended Guilford College, where she played basketball and softball.

After graduating in 2006 with a degree in sports management, King played in the Women's Football Alliance (WFA) as a quarterback and receiver for the Carolina Phoenix from 2006-17, a defensive back and receiver for the New York Sharks in 2018 and a safety for the D.C. Divas in 2019.

In 2018, she met then-Panthers coach Ron Rivera—a former Bears linebacker and assistant coach—at the NFL's Women's Forum and expressed interest in working in the league. She was hired by Carolina as a coaching intern later that year and spent two seasons in that role.

King accompanied Rivera to the Commanders in 2020 as a coaching intern. A year later, she became the first Black woman to be named a full-time NFL coach when Washington promoted her to assistant running backs coach, a role she held the past three seasons.

King now begins a new chapter with the Bears.

"Chicago is a great city, and the Bears organization is historic," King said. "I started paying attention to the Bears playing video games like Tecmo Bowl back in the day because Walter Payton was unstoppable in the game. I used to always play with them on there. Then obviously working for coach Rivera, he's been so important in my life and him being a part of those historic defenses with the Bears as well. It's definitely an exciting time. Hopefully we can hit the ground running and get ready for 2024.

"To be a first in such a historic organization is a special moment. To be a part of that culture that's in the building is exciting. I think we're going to do some really cool things and I'm definitely excited for the upcoming season."

The Bears are thrilled to have King in the building.

"We are extremely excited to welcome Jennifer to our coaching staff," said general manager Ryan Poles. "She is a great addition to our running backs room and brings years of valuable playing and coaching experience to the table."

"We are extremely excited to welcome Jennifer King to the Chicago Bears family," Eberflus said. "She brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to our football team. She has a contagious spirit and coaches the game with immense passion. We are looking forward to working with her and seeing the positive impact that she will have on the Chicago Bears."