SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Among the many things going on Tuesday as the San Francisco 49ers opened their full-squad minicamp was a little bit of history.
The Niners announced the eight members of the 2017 Bill Walsh NFL Diversity Coaching Fellowship, a group that includes Katie Sowers, the first female to have a coaching role in franchise history.
When the team began practice on Tuesday afternoon, Sowers was working alongside receivers coach Mike LaFleur, a role she will continue through at least the end of training camp.
Sowers is no stranger to working on a staff with LaFleur or Niners coach Kyle Shanahan. She spent last preseason in a similar role with the Atlanta Falcons, where Shanahan was the offensive coordinator. When she was done with that, she worked as a scouting intern for the better part of the past year.
So when Shanahan began vetting applicants for this year's intern program and Sowers called to express interest, he jumped at the chance to bring her to the Bay Area.
"She came in and worked with the receivers and did as good of a job as anyone I've had in the internship," Shanahan said. "She worked with [Falcons receivers coach] Raheem [Morris] and Mike LaFleur last year in Atlanta. We loved having her around. She was eager to learn it, she has played professional football in a women's league in the United States for a while and she's passionate about it. Us spending a whole training camp with her, she did a great job and she ended up helping out in Atlanta in personnel throughout the year. She just hit me up a few months ago and said her internship was up over there and asked if we would want to have her here. There was no doubt. She does a good job and we're excited to have her.”
Previously, Sowers played soccer, basketball and ran track at Goshen (Indiana) College and got a master's degree from Central Missouri State.
Many of the other Niners coaching interns come with NFL playing experience. Corey Ivy, Nick Ferguson, Jerrod Johnson and Rodrique Wright all spent at least some time in the NFL. Donald White, Rony Sieparda and Alonzo Carter round out the group.