Denver Broncos make Emily Zaler first female coach in franchise history

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Emily Zaler's internship with the Denver Broncos this summer went so well that the team has hired her full-time for the 2020 season and made her the first female coach in the franchise's history.

Zaler was one of the Broncos' three Bill Walsh interns as the Broncos moved through training camp this summer. On Saturday, just after the Broncos cut their roster to 53 players for the regular season, coach Vic Fangio announced that Zaler would stay for the season.

"We're going to keep her around throughout the season,'' Fangio said Saturday. "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 joins a growing group of full-time female coaches in the NFL that now includes the 49ers' Katie Sowers (offensive assistant), the Buccaneers' Maral Javadifar (assistant strength and conditioning) and Lori Locust (assistant defensive line), and the Browns' Callie Brownson (chief of staff).

Washington coach Ron Rivera also hired Jennifer King, who was an intern for Rivera in Carolina in 2017, as a full-season intern for the 2020 season.

Zaler, a certified strength and conditioning coach, worked with the New York Knicks until the 2019-20 season was shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic. She was then named one of the three Broncos interns from the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship, which gives coaches with college teams and other arenas the opportunity to work with an NFL team in training camp.

Zaler worked with Broncos strength and conditioning coach Loren Landow when Broncos players reported for the acclimation period in late July and during the Broncos' training camp, which concluded Friday with a practice at the stadium.

"It's been a wonderful experience and opportunity to coach in the NFL,'' Zaler recently told the Broncos' website. "And I'm really appreciative for Mr. [John] Elway, Coach Fangio and Coach Landow for the opportunity to be here ... It's always been a dream of mine to coach within the NFL.''