TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Jennifer Chamoun, who is a special education teacher at Mort Elementary School, has a habit of bringing football into her classroom.
She spent her childhood in a house of Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans and she actually lived near Raymond James Stadium. Her parents had season tickets before she was born and, now, Chamoun and her husband are season ticket holders attending four games this past season.
“It is more the story behind football,” explained Chamoun, “the players and what they support off of the field.”
When she introduced her students to the sport in August, she received plenty of questions about why they did not see more females in football.
Chamoun chose to have her students conduct research on the topic. They created a board listing every team in the National Football League along with the number of male coaches and female coaches tied to them.
“I would think that that was the case,” said Carmelo Green, a third grader at Mort Elementary School, “because most people think that is a male job or something a male would do.”
Chamoun decided to take the lesson to the next level. She tagged the assistant defensive line coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Lori Locust, in a tweet and Locust responded to her.
“Lori Locust reached out,” recalled Chamoun, “and she said, ‘We will have our people get with your people,’ and we set up a Zoom with her.”
That meeting occurred on the final Friday in March.
“The question I asked Coach Lori was how was her journey, like, what was something she had to go through on her way to becoming a coach in the NFL?” said Green.
Gilliana Lopez, a second grade student in Chamoun’s class, might be Locust’s biggest fan.
She said she learned that Locust wanted to play football before she transitioned into coaching, she is an avid reader, and, in her words, “she is the best.”
“I felt really inspired,” added Green, “because I have a little sister and, once I heard Coach Lori say that she loved football and once I saw her, that got me thinking that one day maybe my sister could do it or any girl could do it, anybody could do it.”
Green shared what he will always remember from that meeting with “Coach Lori.”
“You can always make a difference in the world,” he said, “or you can do something that most people wouldn’t think you could do.”
Coach Locust and the assistant strength and conditioning coach, Maral Javadifar, became the first female coaches to win a Super Bowl following the Buccaneers win over the Kansas City Chiefs.