Boys become men under the Friday night lights, but for Susquehanna Township High School’s only female football coach, those lights have helped guide her to the NFL.
She’s stood on the sidelines of Susquehanna Township’s football games for nine seasons as a coach, but in a few weeks, she’ll be joining a new tribe: the two-time Superbowl champion Baltimore Ravens.
“I was very blessed to have Baltimore ask me to attend their camp as an intern and then also do three first preseason games with them,” said Lori “Coach Lo” Locust.
The road wasn’t easy.
Coach Lo didn’t get involved with football until she was nearly 40, when she made Harrisburg’s women’s team.
After an injury took her off the field, she turned to coaching her former teammates and then never seemed to stop. In addition to Susquehanna, she coached multiple semi-professional teams all over Pennsylvania and the DMV.
“If you’re knowledgeable, if you’re credible, if you really want to help them get better — I think I’ve heard a lot of players say it doesn’t matter then who you are — they’re going to respond to you,” Locust said.
The internship is part of a diversity fellowship.
“This is just the first steps into it. The internship is meant to give you kind of a sense and a feel of what it’s like to coach at that level,” Locust said.
Despite her upcoming NFL gig, there will always be doubters, and to that, Coach Lo says she remembers what she tells her players: you can only control what’s in front of you.
“I’ve learned over the years that I can’t change people’s perceptions, and I’m not really out to do that. I just want to coach. So, I’m keeping my eyes straight forward and whatever they have to say, it’s on them,” Locust said.
Coach Lo will spend a little over a month with the Ravens, from mid-July to late August.