In the past 14 months, there has been a sudden tidal wave of historic hirings.

By Daniel Roberts
October 2, 2015

There is a groundswell happening in the major men’s sports leagues: women are joining the management ranks.

What started with the San Antonio Spurs hiring Becky Hammon in August 2014 has become a movement, whether accidental or intentional. The NBA and NFL beat baseball to the punch, but this week MLB added its own historic first when the Oakland Athletics made Justine Siegal a temporary coach for its Instructional League team.

By the numbers, we’ve seen four female coaches hired in just 14 months, as well as some female “firsts” in non-coaching positions. Here are the 7 women that have grabbed headlines and inspired many with big positions in the last year or so.

1

Becky Hammon (NBA assistant coach)

Becky Hammon of the San Antonio Spurs speaks to the team during a game the New York Knicks during the game on July 11, 2015 at Thomas And Mack Center, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Becky Hammon of the San Antonio Spurs speaks to the team during a game the New York Knicks during the game on July 11, 2015 at Thomas And Mack Center, Las Vegas, Nevada.Photograph by David Dow — NBAE/Getty Images

Head coach Gregg Popovich (he of our World’s Greatest Leaders list) and the San Antonio Spurs made Becky Hammon one of its assistant coaches just over one year ago. She helped coach the team to the first round of the NBA Playoffs, where the Spurs lost in seven games to the L.A. Clippers. Hammon made history again this summer when the Spurs tapped her to be the head coach of its Summer League team; the Spurs won the league. Read more about Hammon here.

2

Sarah Thomas (NFL referee)

Line judge, Sarah Thomas during play between the Atlanta Falcons and the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on September 27, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.

Line judge, Sarah Thomas during play between the Atlanta Falcons and the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium on September 27, 2015 in Arlington, Texas.Photograph by Ronald Martinez — Getty Images

Former college basketball player Sarah Thomas became the NFL’s first female official in April of this year. You can find her on the field this season as a line judge. Back in the preseason, when Thomas found herself officiating a game in which Jen Welter was coaching, the Internet went nuts, and a photograph of the two shaking hands went viral. Read more on Thomas here.

3

Jen Welter (NFL coaching intern)

Jen Welter of the Arizona Cardinals coaching players during training camp at University of Phoenix Stadium on August 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona.

Jen Welter of the Arizona Cardinals coaching players during training camp at University of Phoenix Stadium on August 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona.Photograph by Christian Petersen — Getty Images

Dr. Jen Welter, a former football player and coach, got the call-up from Arizona Cardinals coach Bruce Arians in July to be a preseason coaching intern working with outside linebackers. Welter formed tight relationships with many of the players and many were hopeful she’d be kept on as a permanent coach for the regular season. That didn’t happen, but she told Fortune she’s hopeful that her run in the NFL has only just begun. Read more on Welter here.

4

Beth Mowins (NFL broadcast announcer)

NFL announcer Beth Mowins, center, and analyst Tim Brown are shown in the broadcast booth during an NFL preseason football game between the Oakland Raiders and the St. Louis Rams in Oakland, Calif., on August 14, 2015.

NFL announcer Beth Mowins, center, and analyst Tim Brown are shown in the broadcast booth during an NFL preseason football game between the Oakland Raiders and the St. Louis Rams in Oakland, Calif., on August 14, 2015.Photograph by Ben Margot — AP

In July, just days after Welter’s hiring, the Oakland Raiders announced the team had added Beth Mowins to its preseason play-by-play announcing team. Mowins is a broadcast veteran, but had never held such a position—and neither had any other woman apart from Gayle Sierens, who announced one game 30 years ago. When Mowins got in the booth for a Raiders-Chiefs preseason game, she became only the second woman ever to call an NFL game. Read more on Mowins here, at our sister publication Sports Illustrated.

5

Nancy Lieberman (NBA assistant coach)

Nancy Lieberman of the Sacramento Kings poses for a photo on media day September 28, 2015 at the Kings practice facility in Sacramento, California.

Nancy Lieberman of the Sacramento Kings poses for a photo on media day September 28, 2015 at the Kings practice facility in Sacramento, California.Photograph by Rocky Widner — NBAE/Getty Images

Nancy Lieberman, hired as an assistant coach by the Sacramento Kings in August, has such a long history in the sport that it’s surprising it took until now for her to land a permanent job in it. She played for Team USA at the 1976 Summer Games in Montreal and played women’s professional basketball for more than 20 years before there was a WNBA. She’s been inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. And now she’s an assistant coach, the league’s second ever. Read more about Lieberman here.

6

Jessica Mendoza (MLB broadcast announcer)

Olympic Gold & Silver Medalist Analyst & Reporter, ESPN Jessica Mendoza moderator at the 2014 Women in Cable Telecommunications Leadership Conference on September 16, 2014 in New York City.

Olympic Gold & Silver Medalist Analyst & Reporter, ESPN Jessica Mendoza moderator at the 2014 Women in Cable Telecommunications Leadership Conference on September 16, 2014 in New York City.Photograph by Larry Busacca — Getty Images

This former collegiate softball player and All-American is only 34, and made history when she stepped in for Curt Schilling and announced a Sunday Night Baseball broadcast in August of the Chicago Cubs at the L.A. Dodgers. She’ll achieve another first on October 6 when she becomes the first female analyst to call an MLB postseason game for the October 6 American League wild-card matchup.

7

Jessica Siegal (MLB instructional coach)

The Oakland Athletics' Hideki Matsui, left, shakes hands with Justine Siegal, who became the first woman to throw batting practice to major league hitters, at the club's spring training facility in Phoenix, Arizona, on February 23, 2011.

The Oakland Athletics’ Hideki Matsui, left, shakes hands with Justine Siegal, who became the first woman to throw batting practice to major league hitters, at the club’s spring training facility in Phoenix, Arizona, on February 23, 2011. Photograph by AP

Justine Siegal already made baseball history back in 2011 when she pitched for multiple different MLB teams at batting practice, including the Athletics, who have now hired her as a coach for this month’s Instructional League. The position may be temporary, but the milestone is a big one. Read more about Siegal here.

SPONSORED FINANCIAL CONTENT

You May Like