HESSTON, Kan. (KWCH) Kansas native Katie Sowers is making history as the first woman to coach in the Super Bowl. Her career accomplishments might turn heads across the country, but those who know the San Francisco 49ers assistant coach best say her success is no surprise.
Hesston College President Joseph Manickam says he considers her a hometown hero.
"My hope is that the young people here on this campus can see Katie, be inspired by her story and for themselves be able to push that out in their lives," Manickam says.
Manickam says Sowers' road to the Super Bowl is breaking barriers and shining a spotlight on the town of Hesston. He says it's putting the town and the college on the map because she got her start there.
Sowers former basketball coach Joel Kauffman says he's not surprised by the type of impact she's making as a coach in the NFL. He says as a player at Hesston College, Sowers always had a coaching mentality.
"I don't think anybody at any point would've predicted this for Katie, but I don't think many people were surprised that really know her very well," says Kauffman.
Kauffmann says he's known Sowers for more than 30 years, since before she was in elementary school. He coached her MAYB team in middle school and during her two years at Hesston College. Kauffman says their relationship continues to blossom, even with all of her success.
"It's a real gift to be able to stay in touch with former players like Katie. It's immensely gratifying, we talk about old times," says Kauffman.
Manickham says Sowers continues to show support for Hesston College when she can and is a true example of the school's motto "Start here, go everywhere."