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Groundbreaking Division I assistant Heather Marini joins Bucs for camp

The Australia native will be part of the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship.
Bucs third-year coach Bruce Arians, who has two full-time female coaches on his staff, will add another woman (Brown University assistant Heather Marini) as part of the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship during training camp.
Bucs third-year coach Bruce Arians, who has two full-time female coaches on his staff, will add another woman (Brown University assistant Heather Marini) as part of the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship during training camp. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Jul. 14

Bucs coach Bruce Arians, a veritable pioneer in the hiring of women to NFL coaching staffs, is bringing another woman aboard during training camp.

The team confirmed Wednesday that Heather Marini, who became the first female position coach at a Division I program last year when she coached Brown University’s quarterbacks, will join Tampa Bay as one of its 2021 Bill Walsh coaching fellows. The Athletic first reported Marini’s addition.

The Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship, established more than three decades ago to increase the hiring of full-time minority coaches in the NFL, gives its participants hands-on experience during organized team activities, minicamps or training camp. Some remain with teams even longer.

Other coaching fellows joining the Bucs: six-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman LaRoi Glover; former Bucs, Gators and Lakewood High receiver Louis Murphy; former Steelers lineman Trai Essex and former Browns receiver Andre King.

Heather Marini joins the Bucs staff for training camp this year as part of the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship.
Heather Marini joins the Bucs staff for training camp this year as part of the Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship. [ Brown University ]

Born in Australia, Marini played competitive women’s tackle football in her native country and worked with the Jets as a summer scouting specialist. Before her promotion at Brown in 2020, she spent two seasons as an offensive quality control assistant for the Ivy League program.

Arians hired Jennifer Welter as an assistant coaching intern in July 2015 when he was with the Cardinals, and brought in Maral Javadifar (assistant strength and conditioning) and Lori Locust (assistant defensive line) as the Bucs’ first full-time female coaches shortly after arriving in Tampa Bay in 2019.

Related: Bucs, Chris Godwin still trying to reach a long-term deal by Thursday deadline

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