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Historic hire: East High School brings on district's 1st female football coach

"It's kind of been the goal the whole time with coaching. I've wanted to be the first coach, female coach," Renate Rice said.

DES MOINES, Iowa — This season is full of firsts for the East High football team.

This is their first year competing in a new conference, it's their first year under Head Coach Tyrone Tyler and now they have the district's first female football coach on their staff.

"I've been playing 13 years, retired about three years ago to start coaching full time," said Renate Rice. 

Rice was brought on as an assistant coach at East High, making her a historic hire — something she's been dreaming of for years.

"It's kind of been the goal the whole time with coaching. I've wanted to be the first coach, female coach," she said. "So that's what I've worked for. It's everything I've worked towards. It's everything I've dedicated the 13 years of playing to."

Head Coach Tyrone Tyler says Rice's knowledge of the game and her ability to connect with the players is what made him want her on his staff.

"When you look at your higher levels, your NFL and your colleges, obviously women are starting to get in the game from officiating and coaching and so to me, it's no different," Tyler said. "From a first, you can look at it from her being a minority as well as a female that's definitely something that's huge for the sport."

The players also recognize the significance of having Rice as one of their coaches.

"Having a woman on the staff, not much schools have that so we're different and we have a unique culture here and I like that," said quarterback JeCari Patton. 

Rice hopes that she can be an example for other girls and women to let them know that they belong and are welcome in the sport.

"It doesn't matter your gender. If you love football, we're here. We can do it. It might have taken us a little bit longer to get here than it took everybody else but we're here now," she said. "So, let's go."

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