Black women are breaking racial and gender barriers in the realm of sports. According to NBC Sports, Bianca Smith was recently hired as a minor league coach for the Red Sox; making her the first Black woman coach in the MLB’s 151-year history.
The athlete-turned-coach has a storied sports career. Smith played softball at the New England-based Dartmouth college and went on to serve in coaching roles at Case Western Reserve in Ohio, the University of Dallas, and most recently Carroll University in Wisconsin. Her appointment with the Red Sox isn’t her first experience with the MLB. She served as an intern in the baseball operations departments for the Cincinnati Reds and the Texas Rangers. Smith credits her mother for introducing her to the game. “My mom was a fan, not the extent I am where I watch games every day,” she said in an interview with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Even if my team isn’t playing, I’m watching a game on MLB.tv; my mom would feel like we actually had to go to the games. She didn’t like watching them on TV. But once she introduced the game to me, I fell in love with the strategy. I should have known then that I wanted to coach.”
In her new role, she will help position players advance their skills. The sports franchise is excited to have Smith on board and believes she will be instrumental in leading the Red Sox to success. “She’s had some really interesting experiences and has been passionate about growing her skillset and development herself,” Ben Crockett, who serves as Vice President of Player Development, said in a statement, according to the news outlet. “It’s a meaningful, meaningful thing for the organization.”
Smith’s historic milestone comes after Alyssa Nakken became the MLB’s first full-time woman coach when she joined the San Francisco Giants’ coaching staff.
Women are making power moves across all sports. Becky Hammon recently became the first woman head coach in the NBA. In November, WNBA legend Teresa Weatherspoon was named full-time assistant coach of the New Orleans Pelicans.