California isn't generally behind the trends, but they trailed Tennessee by a week in this particular category:
Naming a female as a varsity head football coach.
According to this terrific story by Steve Brand of the San Diego Union-Tribune
, longtime San Diego Section power San Diego
picked Knengi Martin as its new coach Tuesday after former coach Doug Packwood abruptly stepped down.
Martin was the program's junior varsity coach this season and the freshman coach last year.
She is the first varsity female football coach in San Diego Section, and perhaps just the second in state history. The first was Pauline Foster during World War II in 1942 at Corning
. See story
Marin's announcement came a week after Brittney Garner
was hired at Pickett County (Byrdstown) following the sudden dismissal of a male head coach. See story on Brittney Garner named first Tennessee female varsity head football coach
Unlike Garner, who has little to no football experience, the 30-year-old Martin has played professionally for the San Diego Surge of the Women's Football Alliance since 2003.
According to Brand, Martin played for the U.S team in the International Federation of American Foothill Women's World Championships. A linebacker, she's been named team MVP of the Surge nine times.
"I've known for a while I wanted to be head varsity football coach in high school," Martin told Brand. "I just didn't expect it to happen this way. … I don't think being a female will add any pressure because I'm passionate and knowledgeable about football. I do respect the fact I'm something of a pioneer, and, if an individual is qualified to coach a sport, maybe this will allow them to follow their dreams."
San Diego, much like Pickett County, hasn't had much success lately. They had lost 16 straight before a win two weeks ago and have mustered just two winning seasons since 2004. The Cavers (1-2) have had a program since 1895 and were crowned national champions in 1955, according to Brand.
Perhaps Martin will jumpstart the program. Senior starting tight end and defensive back Shay Urrea
told Brand the team will keep a very open mind.
"We don't look at it as a woman, but as just another coach with a high football IQ," he said. "She was the receivers coach in passing league and she was not out of place. … She's an offensive-minded coach. The bottom line: She's a coach."