This 30-year-old biology teacher was named varsity boys football coach of Coolidge High School last March, making her one of two women to hold such a position in the entire United States. More interested in charging through defense lines than breaking glass ceilings, Natalie Randolph ignored the media attention that surrounded her debut season to focus on getting her Colts to the playoffs.
An accomplished athlete herself, Randolph competed in the 400 meter hurdle while attending the University of Virginia and later spent five years playing as a pro wide-receiver for the D.C. Divas in the Independent Women’s Football League (IWFL). Randolph was able to segue her love of the sport to coaching.
Natalie Randolph is making history … by setting her own metrics for success and silencing critics. When her team lost early games in the fall, a whirlwind of negative articles attacked her credentials. The increased scrutiny on her debut season is nothing new for Randolph; she is all too familiar with challenges that come along with being a woman in a sport with a boy’s club mentality. In her previous job as assistant coach at Washington D.C.’s Woodson High School, when the teams shook hands at the end of the game, the opposite team would walk right by her without realizing she was a coach. Still, Randolph has remained focused on her two measures of a good coach: creating well-rounded student-athletes — and winning.
WATCH THEGRIO’S 100 NATALIE RANDOLPH HERE
What’s next for Natalie?
This season, Randolph hopes to improve on her team’s 6-4 record. Ever a no-nonsense leader, she is also reigning in the Colts to help them succeed academically, with mandatory study halls and SAT practice tests that she started last season.
In her own words …
“”The first thing is, I love football, no matter whose domain it is. I’m going to do it,”” Randolph told the Washington Post in 2010. “”If I let people dictate what I do, I wouldn’t be where I am. While I’m proud to be a part of what this all means, being female has nothing to do with it.””
A favorite quote …
“Well-behaved women seldom make history” – Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
A little-known fact …
More than 3,000 women competed in 80 teams playing professional football in 2008.