KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Katie Sowers will spearhead Ottawa University’s efforts to grow its women’s sports programs and improve the athletic department’s facilities through a new role the school announced Wednesday.
Sowers, a former NFL assistant coach, is in her second season as the defensive coordinator and director of football operations for the Braves’ women’s flag football team, which won the 2021 NAIA National Invitational Championship last May in Atlanta.
She will continue in that role but also has been named Ottawa’s director of athletic strategic initiatives.
Sowers “will continue to lead the growth efforts of female intercollegiate sports while increasing the visibility of the programs currently offered on campus,” according to a release from Ottawa athletics.
She also will “lead the development and fundraising efforts geared toward the expansion of and additions to Dick Peters Sports Complex to build a state-of-the-art facility for women's flag football and other Braves athletic teams,” the school announced.
"I am excited to join forces with such a great university that shares my same vision for growing the game of not only women's flag football, but for creating a platform that strongly advocates for leveling the playing field for all," Sowers said in a statement from the school.
Braves Director of Athletics Arabie Conner lauded Sowers for her “visionary leadership.”
“We have for a long time sought to elevate our ability to reach and provide opportunities to various underserved populations, and especially the continued growth and development of women in sport," Conner said in a statement. "Ottawa University has needed someone of Coach Sowers' caliber and we see her and her trademark dynamism impacting areas of diversity, equity and inclusion in sport, resource development and outreach beyond the bounds of our own institution and campus community."
Sowers, 35, was born in Hesston, Kansas, and graduated from the University of Central Missouri.
She played for the West Michigan Mayhem and Kansas City Titans in the Women’s Football Alliance and also helped the U.S. national team win the 2013 IFAF Women’s World Championship before retiring in 2016 with a hip injury.
Sowers interned for the Atlanta Falcons in 2016, helping coach wide receivers.
As part of the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship, she took an intern role with the San Francisco 49ers in 2017, eventually was promoted to a full-time offensive assistant role.
Sowers, who became only the second female assistant coach in NFL history, eventually became the first female and openly gay coach in Super Bowl history with the Niners’ appearance in Super Bowl LIV.
Her contract expired after the 2020 season in San Francisco. She spent part of training camp as a coaching intern with the Kansas City Chiefs in August.