Natalie Randolph was appointed to head coach at Washington, D.C.'s Coolidge High School. Randolph joins the rank as one of only a few women nationally who have ever headed a high school football team. Randolph attributes her own passion for the sport as well as a love for kids as reasons she was hired for the coaching position.
Randolph, age 29, played five seasons for a women's professional football league and has two seasons' worth of prior coaching experience from when she was an assistant coach at another Washington, D.C. high school.
Randolph has encountered tremendous support from friends, family, faculty, former team mates, and even the press. At a press conference on Friday, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty declared: "Natalie Randolph, like all the head coaches who preceded her . . . is being honored because she's the best person for this job." Randolph is certain to meet criticism and scornful judgement one of the first ever female high school football coaches, but given the support of many, she is assuredly a great choice to lead the Colts to victory.
Randolph stated in the press conference: "People are going to say stuff wherever you go. I can't control what people say. The first thing is, I love football, no matter whose domain it is. I'm going to do it. If I let people dictate what I do, I wouldn't be where I am. While I'm proud to be a part of what this all means, being female has nothing to do with it."
Randolph has also encountered a vast amount of support from the football players. Her reputation as a well liked teacher among students at Coolidge proceeds her. Football player Oluwakemi Bamico, a sophomore, stated: "We're finally getting a coach and a coach that I like. We all respect her as a person, and that's all that matters. We all have mothers, so that's a coach. It's not going to be any different. We're going to be playing football on Friday nights, trying to get a W."
Members of the faculty have created t-shirts to commemorate the the event with Coach Randolph's name and photo on the front and the words "You play like a girl" on the back.