Next Woman Up: Sarah Hogan, assistant director of coaching operations for the Atlanta Falcons

Next Woman Up: Sarah Hogan, assistant director of coaching operations for the Atlanta Falcons

Women are rising up in professional soccer and earning positions of power in a space that has been dominated almost exclusively by men for too long. We’re seeing more and more women breaking barriers in sport, but what are the stories outside the headlines? Who are the women shaping and influencing the NFL today? Answering these questions is the goal of the Next Woman Up series. While the conversational questions and answers have been edited and condensed for clarity, this is a forum for influential women to share experiences in their own words. Without delay, we present:

Sarah Hogan, Atlanta Falcons

Sarah Hogan, Atlanta Falcons

Job Title: Assistant Director of Coaching Operations To see also : Communication major and Eagles cheerleader handles midterms, media and the Super Bowl.

How did you start your football career?

My beginning is somewhat unique. My dad, Greg Gigantino, is a college football coach, so I just naturally interacted with the players and coaches because I grew up around them. My real start was at James Madison University. I started working in the football office, I was a volunteer for four years, and it seemed natural to me to be with the team and help them. Then I was lucky that Hofstra, where my father was coaching at the time, was where the New York Jets had their training camp. I worked for the Jets for a few summers.

I worked in the recruiting department and I actually came out of that internship wanting to work in community relations. I went to school to get my master’s degree in campus recreation before realizing I wanted to work in athletics. I went to the University of Maryland and that’s actually where I discovered the director of football operations position. After that, I had the opportunity to walk in the door at Northeastern with my first full-time job.

What did your first full-time job in football operations entail and how did you make your way to the Falcons?

That initial position was as an administrative assistant for the football team at Northeastern. At the time, they had a defensive coordinator who did team travel and another who did road meals. The stuff the coaches had was ridiculous, so I thought it made sense to do all the stuff behind the scenes so they could focus on coaching and recruiting. The first year I really learned how to do everything. Then it was all up to me. I planned work weekends and trips and even some marketing. I wanted to familiarize myself with everything in the athletic department.

Northeastern cut the football program in 2009 and then I got the DFO job at Georgia State University. Then after five years I came to the Falcons, then head coach Dan Quinn, through a family connection. I started out in the scouting department in Atlanta, so I carried over a lot of the things I did in college because I was doing a lot of travel for scouts, assistant general managers, setting up day visits and working with schools. It was a great first job in the NFL because I learned a ton about how the organization works.

In January of 2016, Coach Quinn asked me if I wanted to help out with the head coaching operations because his assistant had left. So I directly supported him and my role expanded. I helped where I could. That role is a lot different than it is now because I really wanted to take a lot of things away from the coaches so they could focus on football.

So you basically built your role to what it is today in the Falcons organization?

I am. The person who was here before me worked a more standard 9 to 5 job Monday through Friday. When I walked in, I said to myself, “What’s my role on match day because I’m not working?” I created the Head Coach Operations Coordinator title because I wanted it to be more than an executive assistant to the head coach. Of course, I wanted to do this job, but not just this job.

What was the transition like from Dan Quinn to Arthur Smith?

It was very interesting because the entire staff was brand new, even Director of Coaching Operations Brian Griffin. It was a really big learning curve. With Coach Smith being a first time head coach, I was able to help a lot, having been through this situation with Coach Quinn for six years. I was able to bring so much to the table and was able to step in to help him and the staff with everything.

What do you like most about your job?

I like being able to talk in terms of coaches and work with them regularly. Having grown up with the game, it’s easy for me to work with them. At the same time, I like being a liaison with other departments in our building and organization. Bridging that gap between the coaches and the players and the rest of the team in the building is so much fun. It’s a great environment for teamwork.

What would you say you are most proud of?

I think I’ve grown a lot over the last few years as the organization has gone through changes. I am most proud of being able to stay the course while continuing to learn and improve.

I will also add that I took over the Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowship with Marquice Williams after Scott Pioli left the Falcons. We kept it organized and part of our process. I am very proud to be a part of it. We had a great team last year during training camp and we will continue to create a pipeline for women and all minorities to get full-time jobs in the NFL.

That’s great to hear. What is the most challenging part of your position?

I always say that there are more challenges than opportunities. For me, I really need to improve on things on the field — like the X’s and O’s of the game and the film aspect. In the past, I had tunnel vision of my role off the field. Now I am trying to develop and it is important that I continue to do so.

I feel like I was pretty young when I started, and now that I’m moving up the ladder, I’ve learned to see the big picture. Be aware of how important your role is to and within the organization. This is not always easy to do.

Finally, it is always a challenge to gain the trust of new coaches and players. They get hit by so many people and I want them to know that I am only here to help and guide them so they can focus on their work and solve problems if they arise.

Do you have a mentor who influenced your career?

One of my mentors is Steve Scarnecchia, who is now the chief of personnel for the Jets. He taught me so much in my six years in Atlanta. He’s a rock star and I really try to look up to him because he’s so knowledgeable. As for the directorial role, I aspire to be where he is. Then I would say all the coaches I’ve been with at all levels in my career. Everyone supported me and trusted me.

Apparently my parents too. My mother, Cathy, is a driven person who always encouraged me to participate and work hard. My father was the one who never forced me, but supported me when I wanted to do something. My husband, JP, was also very supportive. There is no way I could focus on my career without him and his constant unwavering encouragement.

The other is my godfather, Bob “Bo” Guarini, who was a longtime scout for the Indianapolis Colts and sadly passed away last year. He was the first person I knew in the NFL, so he really guided me as my football career took off. When I was at Northeastern and Georgia State, he always told me to look for me if a scout came. That’s how I gained a lot of respect for Bo. He taught me a lot about running a professional day, which was one of my favorite parts of being in college, and how to behave. He made me feel so strong; He made me excited to meet and work with NFL coaches and scouts. I wasn’t afraid or scared.

The other two are Laura Okmin and Dawn Aponte. Dawn was with the New York Jets when I was there, and she was the first woman I saw in a major football role. Seeing her in that role really affected me because I thought women were just athletic trainers or cheerleaders or working in marketing.

What advice do you have for women who want to work in football?

My advice would be to always keep your CV fresh and ready to be displayed at any time. This basic information is important. Get involved in other departments, network and stay in touch with the people you work with. For example, when I was at JMU, I worked with Eddie Davis, another mentor of mine. And because I stayed in touch with him after I left, he knew I was in the market for a DFO job. He had an open ear and contacted me, so I applied and got an interview. Making and maintaining connections is so valuable in this industry.

Finally, what’s next in the line of things you want to accomplish?

I didn’t know the answer to that for a while because I didn’t even know if I could do the job when the new regime came. Now that I’ve settled into the role a little more, I’d like to stay on that path and become a director one day.

What was the Falcons defense ranked in 2016?

An actorPF1.D
Opp. Statistics406358
Lg Rank Attack12
LG Rank Defense2729

What year did the falcons have the best defense? Defensive Legacy Football analytics site Cold Hard Football Facts calls the 1977 Falcons “the most expensive defense in the Super Bowl era” and “the most expensive defense since World War II.” Atlanta surrendered just 9. To see also : First openly trans NFL cheerleader to debut in 2022 season.2 points per game, or 129 total points in a 14-game season (both all-time records).

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Who is the offensive coordinator for the Falcons?

One team that kept their coaching staff intact was the Atlanta Falcons. See the article : The Beachside High School band, the cheerleaders, prepare the drum for Friday night’s game. Arthur Smith will return as head coach in 2022-2023, with Dave Ragone as offensive coordinator and Dean Pees as defensive coordinator.

Who was the Falcons offensive coordinator in 2016? He previously served as the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons, Cleveland Browns, Washington Commanders and Houston Texans. With the Falcons in 2016, Shanahan coordinated an offense that led the league in scoring and helped the team reach Super Bowl LI.

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