2020 has been quite the year, and although many of us are happy to bid it farewell, there are some positive moments in the world of sports that we should never forget. As the clock ticks down to the new year, let’s take a look at some incredible women who not only defied the odds, but also created new opportunities for women in a male dominated industry.
Women in sports 2020:
We start with Katie Sowers, an offensive assistant coach for the San Francisco 49ers. On Jan 20th she went down in history as the first woman to coach in an NFL Super Bowl. As the 49ers took the field against the Kansas City Chiefs, Sowers joined them. Sowers is not only the first woman to assist a team in one of the most watched annual sporting events in the world, but she also is one of the first women to solidify a position in a male-only sport.
Next, 2020 brought us Alyssa Nakken. Nakken took the field this year for the San Francisco Giants as their assistant coach. After a successful athletic career at Sacramento State, she started on a path that eventually led her to San Francisco’s Oracle Park. On July 20th, she took her place in the Giant’s first-base coaching box where she coached the final innings of an exhibition game vs. the A’s. She became the first woman to coach on the field in MLB history.
However, Nakken was not the only woman making history in the MLB this season. In November, Kim Ng became the Marlins general manager, making history as not only the first woman to be a GM in Major League Baseball, but also the first woman to hold this title in any of the four major North American men’s sports leagues. Throughout her accredited career, Ng has fought hard for women in sports.
Sarah Fuller is next on our list of women making strides in 2020. This year in college football Fuller, a senior at Vanderbilt University, made history as not only the first woman to play football at a Power 5 school, but she was also the first woman to score in a Power 5 football game. In her game debut, she wore “Play Like a Girl” on the back of her helmet to encourage girls to play sports and follow their dreams. Fuller was also the senior goalie for the women’s soccer team where they finished the season with an SEC Championship.
Last but certainly not least, is former San Antonio Stars standout, six-time WNBA All-Star and one of WNBA’s Top 15 Players of All Time Becky Hammon. Hammon has had many accomplishments in her athletic career, but in the year 2020 she has knocked down huge walls for women in sports. In 2014 she became the first woman in NBA history to become an assistant coach and serve as the head coach for the San Antonio Spurs during Summer League, but that was just the beginning. On Dec. 30, she became the first woman in NBA history to serve as head coach in a regular season game, after Greg Popovich was ejected.
As we close the final chapter of 2020 and look to the new year, let’s not forget the positive steps that have been made in our sports history.
Young girls around the world not only witnessed their heroes defeating adversity and changing the unwritten rules of sports, but can now walk into 2021 without a single doubt in their mind that they are anything less than their male peers. They can embrace playing and coaching like a girl, and like the woman of 2020, there is a whole new year waiting for them to change history.
“Just because something’s never been done doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Leadership has no gender.” - Becky Hammon