Meet Jennifer Gardner, first female football coach in Wyoming history

The proverbial glass ceiling of female football coaches continues to be broken state-by-state. Now the Cowboy State (or Equality State, if you prefer) is the latest to join the new frontier.

As reported by the Casper Star-Tribune, Lovell High School, located in Wyoming’s Big Horn County, became the first school in state history to hire a head football coach when it tabbed Jennifer Gardner for the 2018 season. The new head coach was previously an assistant at the school over the prior three campaigns, when she worked with the team’s offensive and defensive lines.

According to Lovell activities director Joe Koritnik, Gardner was one of only three candidates for the open position due in part to the district’s struggles to create teacher openings that would accommodate a potential new coach. In the end, Gardner was selected ahead of two other candidates, and is now scrambling to fill out her coaching staff.

“We made the choice and now it’s just a matter of surrounding Coach Gardner with some good assistant coaches and see where the program goes,” Koritnik told the Star-Tribune. “I’m excited for Jeny. She’s very passionate about the game of football.”

The new coach will continue to serve as a math teacher at Lovell High while leading the football team. While she has a mountain to climb to successfully follow in the footsteps of former coach Doug Hazen, Gardner has all the traits to accomplish the feat, per Koritnik.

“She established herself as a very good lines coach,” he said. “She had developed a positive rapport with our players, specifically with the linemen, so we felt good about how she makes connections with kids.”

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