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Chicago Bears hire Jennifer King, first female coach in franchise history

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CHICAGO (CBS) – The Chicago Bears made history this week, announcing the hiring of Jennifer King, the first female coach in the franchise's 104-year history.

King, 39, will serve as an assistant running backs coach.

"Jennifer King is an exceptional leader and passionate coach who will be a positive addition to the Chicago Bears," said team President and CEO Kevin Warren in a statement. "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."

King played in the Women's Football Alliance (WFA) as a quarterback and receiver for the Carolina Phoenix from 2006 to 2017, a defensive back and receiver for the New York Sharks in 2018 and a safety for the D.C. Divas in 2019.

She was first hired by the Carolina Panthers in 2018 as a coaching intern, and in 2021 became the first Black woman to be named a full-time NFL coach when she was promoted by the Washington Commanders to be their assistant running backs coach. She's served in that role in Washington the past three seasons.

"Chicago is a great city, and the Bears organization is historic," King said in a statement. "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."

She added about the current team, "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."

King played basketball and softball at Guilford College before graduating with a degree in sports management in 2006.

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