The Denver Broncos have become the latest NFL team to hire a female assistant coach for the first time in franchise history.
Emily Zaler officially was hired from a summer internship to a full-time position on the coaching staff, head coach Vic Fangio announced Saturday.
“We’re going to keep her around throughout the season,” Fangio said. “She did a really nice job here. She’s knowledgeable, very passionate about strength and conditioning aspect. We’re happy to have her, and we’re going to keep her on for the entire season.”
Zaler, a certified strength and conditioning specialist, worked in that capacity with the Knicks until this season was shuttered in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to coach within the NFL,” Zaler told the Broncos’ team website in August. “It’s been a wonderful experience and opportunity to coach in the NFL. And I’m really appreciative for [team president] Mr. [John] Elway, Coach Fangio and (strength and conditioning) Coach (Loren) Landow for the opportunity to be here.”
According to ESPN, she joins the San Francisco 49ers’ Katie Sowers, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Maral Javadifar and Lori Locust and the Cleveland Browns’ Callie Brownson as women presently on NFL coaching staffs.
“Over the last decade, I’ve been told more times than I can count that I would never have the opportunity to work in the NFL or the NBA because I’m a woman, and there are a handful of women who have led the way for me that have had the opportunity and shown me that it is possible,” Zaler said. “I hope to do the same for the next generation of female strength and conditioning coaches who want to work in an elite male sport.”