TAMPA, Fla. — With Women’s History Month coming to a close for 2021, the NFL 360 series turned its focus toward Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ assistant defensive line coach, Lori Locust.
In the interview, coach Locust talks about being one of two women who became the first females to be a part of the coaching staff for a Super Bowl winning team when the Bucs won Super Bowl LV.
Shortly after the game ended, a photo was taken of Locust and her son on the Raymond James Stadium grass. One of many moments of joy captured following the win, it signifies something special to the assistant coach, still bringing emotions to the surface over a month later.
“I was trying to take it all in, you know.” Locust said. “The confetti was going (and) everything and then I turn around, and I saw my son...and I was just -- it was a lot. That was probably the most meaningful...It meant so much to have him there.”
While football is a game to many, it’s a passion for others, like coach Locust. Someone who has defined the word ‘grind’ in her pursuit of moments like the one she experienced that Sunday night in Tampa, Florida.
It wasn’t a direct path, however. As Locust recalled, there were sacrifices made to carve her route to the NFL because there was no path for women in her line of work as she began her football life.
“There were times where I made my own way. I did a lot of traveling on my own. Thousands of miles I put on cars to go to practices by myself. I’ve slept on floors. I’ve slept in my car to get to spring ball. I’ve kind of gone without lunches or dinners sometimes because I knew I needed to put gas money in my car to get back from wherever I was. There’s tons of stories like that. Things that may have made people fold, but it was certainly something I always saw as just an investment and where I wanted to end up," she explained.
Coach Locust isn’t alone in making history with the 2020 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Assistant strength and conditioning coach Maral Javadifar is helping to broaden the view of what an NFL coach looks like.
The two coaches have made big strides already but aren’t finished yet. Asked about where she wants to take her historic career, coach Locust is happy with what she’s done but not ready to say she’s peaked.
“I feel like, at a certain point in time, I would like to have my own (defensive line) room,” Locust said. “I feel like it’s just a career path that I want to try and follow, but I don’t know that I’ll ever get to a point where I can tell you, ‘I’ve made it.’”
Drive, dedication, and the will to proceed forward no matter the obstacles. It’s what the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defensive line has certainly shown a lot of during Locust’s two years on staff. And it’s clearly a direct reflection of the assistant coach who continues to be a leader on her team and a shining example of a growing population of women and girls in sports once thought of as being ‘for men only.'
For more on this story, and all things Tampa Bay Buccaneers, check out the Locked On Bucs Podcast.
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