Welcome back readers. After a vacation to recharge batteries in preparation for the 2010-11 high school sports season, The Varsity Letters returns. You may remember from a previous post, the story of a female hired to coach football at a high school in the Washington, D.C. area. She just conducted her first official practice.
WASHINGTON (AP) — She led a group of players in a huddle, with her arms raised and meeting in the middle. She gestured, called out instructions, monitored drills with a discerning face, and even cracked a smile.
In other words, Natalie Randolph’s first practice at Coolidge Senior High School had much the same feel as thousands of other high school practices run across the country. The only difference: There was a woman in charge.
Randolph, believed to be the nation’s only female head coach of a high school varsity team, took to the field with her Coolidge Colts late Friday afternoon on a steamy hot day. She wore a standard coach’s attire: gray school T-shirt, orange Coolidge shorts, tennis shoes and a black visor on over her dreadlocks.
Randolph, 30, was hired amid much fanfare in March, when scores of reporters and dignitaries descended on the school and the mayor proclaimed it “Natalie Randolph Day” in the city. While she appreciates the significance of her unique status, she was hoping the public fascination would have died down by now. She and the school have limited her interviews, and only a portion of the practice was open to reporters and photographers.
Randolph, a biology and environmental sciences teacher at the school, was chosen from about 15 candidates after the previous coach resigned.
The Washington native and University of Virginia track star previously played six seasons as a receiver for the D.C. Divas of the National Women’s Football Association and spent three seasons as an assistant coach at another D.C. high school.
Coolidge’s first game is Aug. 27 against Archbishop Carroll.