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Four Women Who Broke Through Sports’s Glass Ceiling in 2020

In 2020 Sarah Fuller, Katie Sowers, Becky Hammon, and Kim Ng broke long-standing gender barriers in college football, the NFL, the NBA, and Major League Baseball….

Sowers attended Hesston College and then the Mennonite-affiliated Goshen College in Indiana, where she was a multisport athlete. After graduating in 2009, she asked about taking a position as a volunteer assistant coach on the Goshen women’s basketball team. She said she was turned down based on her sexual orientation.

Spurned, she turned instead to Women’s Football Alliance, where she played with her twin sister, Liz. Sowers played eight years in the WFA, first for the West Michigan Mayhem and then for the Kansas City Titans. She also coached girls basketball in Kansas City, where one of her players was a daughter of the noted football executive Scott Pioli. Later, when Pioli became the assistant general manager of the Atlanta Falcons, he helped Sowers get a Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship, part of which involved working with the Falcons during the off-season. There she met Kyle Shanahan, who later went on to coach the 49ers, where he recruited Sowers to join his staff in 2017. In 2019 she became the first full-time female coach in NFL history. 

In 2017, in an interview with Outsports, Sowers came out as the NFL’s first openly LGBTQ+ coach, male or female. “No matter what you do in life, one of the most important things is to be true to who you are,” Sowers told the site. “There are so many people who identify as LGBT in the NFL, as in any business, who do not feel comfortable being public about their sexual orientation.”


Though the 49ers lost the Super Bowl to the Chiefs (and will miss the playoffs this year), players have publicly expressed their belief in Sowers and the future of her coaching career, with defensive tackle DJ Jones telling ABC News, “She’s empowering to all women. I’m proud of her. She’s a superstar.”

In an interview with Hesston College in 2016, when she was with the Falcons, Sowers talked about her career goals. “My long-term goal is to be a head coach and then move on to executive management,” Sowers said. “It’s not a typical path, but then again, nothing about what I’m doing is typical.”

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Kim Ng, the new general manager for the Miami Marlins. AP Photo

Kim Ng

When Ng was hired by team co-owner Derek Jeter in November to be the new general manager of the Miami Marlins, she not only became the first female general manager of a major North American men’s professional sports team, but also Major League Baseball’s first Asian American general manager.


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The Official Look at New Balance 580 GORE-TEX “Kombu Green”

New Balance 580 GORE-TEX

After unveiling the New Balance 580 GORE-TEX in the striking “Black Magnet” colorway, New Balance is introducing yet another iteration of the popular sneaker, this time in a refreshing “Kombu Green” hue.

Determined to provide options that withstand winter’s harshest conditions, the shoe is meticulously crafted using a combination of suede and mesh materials, integrating advanced waterproof GORE-TEX technology, Roll-Bar tech, and ABZORB cushioning for optimal functionality, comfort, and stability. Diverging from the darker tones of the “Black Magnet” version, the “Kombu Green” edition predominantly features an army green tone on the suede overlays and upper. Complementing this, the midsole is highlighted in grey, while the Vibram outsole receives sleek black accents.


Scheduled for release by the year’s end, the New Balance 580 GORE-TEX “Kombu Green” will be available for $170 USD at select retailers and through the official New Balance online store.

In unrelated footwear updates, take an official look at the Nike Air Max 1 “White/University Gold.”

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Official Look at the Nike Air Max 1 “White/University Gold”

Nike continues to expand its Air Max 1 lineup with a new sports-infused colorway perfect for Steelers, Pirates fans or both.

The new release sees the classic silhouette in white, university gold and black hues and the shoe constructed in breathable mesh and durable suede. The base sees a crisp white upper with neutral grey overlays while black mudguards contrast the vibrant university gold accents on the Swooshes, the upper eyelets, tongue, insole branding and Air Max heel unit. The heels feature the signature Nike branding while the shoe sits atop a white and black midsole and outsole.


The Nike Air Max 1 “White/University Gold” is available now at select retailers and online at Nike for $140 USD.

In other footwear news, Nike Air Max 1 Slide OG “Royal” has surfaced.

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