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Brown hires first female position coach in Division I football

Heather Marini promoted to quarterbacks coach after first season with the Bears

Heather Marini became the first female position coach in Division 1 Football after Brown announced March 16 that she had been promoted to the Bears’ quarterbacks coach. 

Marini, who hails from Australia, met future Brown Head Coach James Perry ’00 at the 2017 NFL Women’s Careers in Football Forum. Two years later, she landed a coaching job as the Offensive Quality Control Assistant Coach with Perry and the Bears and helped lead a high-caliber offensive squad that includes All-Ivy quarterback EJ Perry ’21, who set an Ivy League record for total offense last season. 

“You never know which handshake is your job interview,” Marini told The Herald.

Prior to coaching the Bears, Marini worked with the New York Jets as a summer scouting specialist. She gained additional experience in Australia, where she worked with the Monash Warriors Gridiron Club for six years. After serving as the quarterbacks coach for the Warriors, Marini led as  their head coach for three years. She also had a successful playing career, starring on the Gridiron Victoria Women’s Tackle Football and Monash Warriors Women’s Gridiron, where she received multiple honors for her play.

Coach Perry said that he considered the entire applicant pool and recruited coaches who were the best fit for the position. He spoke highly of Marini’s ability to connect with the players, which contributes to the success of the team. “The quarterbacks are really excited. … Everybody knows she is terrific and is going to make us better.” 

Quarterback Michael McGovern ‘21 emphasized how Marini displayed her work ethic and value to the players last year. “She was in the quarterback room almost every meeting last season,” he said. “I always saw her learning and paying very close attention to what Coach Perry had to offer … I think she is going to do a great job (in her new role).”

Coach Perry noted how Brown Football is not the only beneficiary of Marini’s expertise, calling Marini’s recent promotion to quarterbacks coach “a pioneering moment” for all women aspiring to work in traditionally male-dominated sports.

Marini’s promotion has earned the attention of Billie Jean King, a former World No. 1 women’s tennis player and long-time advocate for gender equality in athletics. “Amidst so much uncertainty, good news still serves as a light,” King said in a tweet congratulating Brown’s new quarterbacks coach.

“Women are pursuing roles within football and teams are looking for them now,” Marini said, “Women can contribute wherever they want.” 


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