2015 was a big year for women breaking into male-dominated sports. Sarah Thomas was hired as the first female NFL referee, Jen Welter signed on to become the first female NFL coach, and Justine Siegal became the first female MLB coach. Now, just over a month into 2016, it looks like this year will be a pivotal one for gender barriers in sports as well. A few weeks ago, Kathryn Smith followed in Welter's footsteps to become the first full-time female assistant coach in the NFL, and in the media world, Alison Overholt has taken over as ESPN The Magazine's new editor in chief.
The move makes Overholt the first-ever female head of a U.S. sports magazine. She's succeeding Chad Millman in the role, who becomes vice president, editorial director, domestic digital content. She'll continue her duties as editor of espnW as well, which bills itself as "the home for women who love sports."
ESPN's official press release noted that "the changes also reflect the diversity of ESPN's digital leadership and its continued drive to find new and better ways to personalize experiences for fans, even as ESPN remains No. 1 in digital sports in every category."
PR speak aside, it's definitely a landmark moment for the sports media world. Much like America's professional leagues themselves, the people who report on them have been much of a boys' club for decades. Here's to hoping more women follow the path Overholt is currently paving.
Cover image: alisonoverholt.com