Local coach inspired by first woman to coach in Super Bowl: 'I think it's just the beginning'

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The Super Bowl will be a night we won’t forget--not only because of what happened on the field or at halftime but because of a coach on the sidelines.

Katie Sowers has now made history as the first woman to coach in the Super Bowl and she has inspired local coaches to dream big.

Katie Gearlds hosted a house full of family and friends to watch Super Bowl 54.

She describes it as a national holiday--like Christmas and Thanksgiving.  As a decorated basketball star for the Hoosier State, she’s also a big football fan. While she cheered on the chiefs, she also rooted for someone she looks up to.

“You look at what Katie’s done, Becky Hammon started it in the NBA, just female coaches, being able to coach sports that are predominately dominated by men, men coaches - to see Katie in the Super Bowl as a female coach, that’s the highest of highs,” said Gearlds.

Sowers is the first woman to coach in the Super Bowl, as an offensive assistant for the San Francisco 49ers.

“We just need to continue to open doors and show women that truly anything is possible,” said Sowers.

Gearlds want to live up to that message. As the head coach of the women’s basketball team for Marian University, a former player in the WNBA and someone who spent time playing at Purdue, she believes Sowers is breaking barriers.

“Winning games is great, winning championships is awesome,” said Gearlds, “But there’s so much more to coaching than that.”

Gearlds wants to show her players they can also make it to the big game.

“I’m happy to be a trailblazer, but I never set out to be the first,” said Sowers.

“If I can help these kids grow into be awesome young women, that they’ve already turned into then I’m doing my job,” said Gearlds, “I think it’s just the beginning with what Katie’s doing and some female coaches in the NBA. I think we got cut short on what Kobe was about to do for female sports, but I think what he started to do and what other male athletes are going to do to help inspire and empower women coaches across all genres of sports, so I’m excited for what the future has.”

Sowers played basketball at Goshen College in northern Indiana.

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