Her journey began in the hallways of Susquehanna Township High School, and now she finds herself walking the tunnels of Raymond James Stadium in Tampa: home of Super Bowl LV.
Lori Locust’s decades long coaching career brought her to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where the Harrisburg-native is now the assistant defensive line coach under Head Coach Bruce Arians. In just her second season in the NFL, Locust hopes to win her first Super Bowl in her first try.
She’s one of a small group of women coaching in the NFL, and one of two women coaching on the Bucs. Maral Javadifar is the team’s assistant strength and conditioning coach.
Coach Lo knows there is a responsibility that comes with being one of the first through the door, and yet, she hopes women on the sidelines quickly becomes common.
“We want to get to a point where you don’t have to use a label to identify us,” Locust said. “So it’s just ‘Lo is a coach,’ instead of ‘Lo is a female coach.'”
It’s a mentality shared by many pioneers in the sports industry: get through the door, do your job and earn your spot.
Super Bowl LV represents a historic step for the NFL when it comes to diversity. Sarah Thomas will become the first female referee to officiate the league’s championship game. Locust and Javadifar represent two women coaching in the Super Bowl (although they are not the first: Katie Sowers was the first with the 49ers last year). The 55th playing of the Super Bowl also comes at a time where the Washington Football Team hired the first African-American female full-time assistant coach in Jennifer King.
The game kicks off Sunday, Feb. 7 at 6:30.