Lisa Limper is our friend, a personal trainer and OMG, the only female football coach in Tennessee.
Let’s put this in perspective. The only woman serving as head coach of a high school football team in the United States, Natalie Randolph, just stepped down at the end of last year’s season. At the college level, women coach fewer than three percent of any men’s sports teams.
Lisa serves as the assistant coach at Glencliff High School, training the quarterback and running back every year. Her work as a personal trainer gives her the opportunity to prepare her team members during the offseason.
So what makes Lisa Limper want to coach?
“I’ve known I wanted to be a football coach since I was 8,” Lisa told us. She never had the opportunity to play, since girls were not allowed to at the time, but she grew up loving the all-American pastime. “My youth pastor let me help out, running plays.” Lisa says she grew up with a neighborhood full of boys including her younger brother. Her friends influenced her and gave her the passion for football.
Lisa explained that as a female, she has experienced no disadvantages or challenges. The boys love and respect her as a coach, and there is never a moment when she feels like she is not taken seriously as a female. Lisa says, “There are a lot of challenges that every inner-city football coach faces.” Some boys come from less financially stable homes and the economic disadvantage takes a toll. In addition, many boys do not have a father figure, so they come to high school never having played the game. It’s hard on any football coach, but Lisa expresses so much love for the boys.
Lisa’s Favorite Part of Coaching
When asked about her favorite part of coaching, Lisa responded, “I think it’s getting to watch the boys grow up. You know, go to college and into the real world, growing up. I’ve been coaching for 5 years and I’m just now seeing my first class go into college and the real world. It’s good to influence their lives and see that.”
We asked Lisa if she thinks her job has encouraged other girls to pursue a job that is typically portrayed as male dominated? Lisa said, “I think so. . I haven’t had anyone personally come up to me and say so, but I think being a woman as a football coach makes me stand out. I know that Vanderbilt and the Titans did workshops for women to learn more about football, and I think that’s great. There are so many households with single moms, and they need to know.”