She’s the first ever in the university’s history!
A Prince George’s County, Maryland native, Jordyn Foster, remembers being a fan of football since she was a young girl, Andscape reports. She often cheered on the Denver Broncos in her family’s living room and took slack in school for not being a fan of either the Washington Commanders of Baltimore Ravens, the area’s two home teams. Still, she found comfort in her stance, spending many days beside her father as an avid Bronco fan. The love came early, but Foster admits it took her some time to really learn the game, and those regular sessions alongside her dad were key.
“I love football, but I used to not understand it. But my dad would break down the plays for me. I asked a question on every down. ‘Well, why are they doing this? What does this mean? Why didn’t he call this play instead?’ I would have to beg my mom to let me watch the entire game because it would be past my bedtime,” recalls Foster.
She carried that love with her throughout her school years, enrolling at North Carolina A&T with the goal of initially becoming a sports agent. Through various internships, a sea of job offer rejections, and a global pandemic that took two years of her college life, Foster shifted her focus, narrowing down her career options during an internship with Quality Control Sports and an NFL experience-ship she finished in the fall of 2022.
Eventually, her friends encouraged her to reach out to North Carolina A&T’s previous director of football operations, Jacquan “Jay” Respass. After weeks of emails, she finally got a line on Respass and decided she would present him with a job opportunity that didn’t exist, pitching to become the new football operations intern.
“I was shocked when Jordyn came in and asked for an internship. But it also excited me because here’s a young Black woman trying to break into the industry, and I have a chance to be a part of her journey,” said Respass.
He set out to help equip Foster for the real world and mold her into the ideal employee that universities would be looking for. She learned everything from how to book team flights to how to be assertive on the team.
“Jordyn isn’t afraid to add a little flavor to the job. She was always able to express her opinion and ideas. Her ideas made me realize we don’t have to keep doing things a certain way just because that’s the way they’ve been done,” Respass explained.
Her hard work paid off, and when Respass left NC A&T for a job with the Arizona Cardinals, Foster began a three-month process for the university’s director of football operations position. Head football coach Vincent Brown saw promise in Foster immediately, but he still wanted to make sure she was a good fit, checking for preparedness, consistency, and how well she fostered relationships. Ultimately, she proved herself more than equipped, and while acting as interim director from March to May, Brown made his decision.
“I really felt like I was tested on how many fires I can put out independently without needing the help of Coach Brown,” said Foster.
Just before she was scheduled to graduate in May, she went to Brown and asked if she had gotten the job. Turns out, that’s all he was waiting for.
“Jordyn, your future is to become the next DFO at A&T,” Brown told Foster.
“I was in complete shock. I wanted to cry right there in that office, but I held myself together, not wanting to show any signs of weakness because you have to be careful in this industry. But I thanked him and told him that I was here for him and promised to be a sponge,” Foster recalled.
Proud of u sis! God bless you https://t.co/Acy2jrOYYX— COACH PRIME (@DeionSanders) October 13, 2023
Foster’s hire is a historic one, the 23-year-old making history as the youngest and first-ever Black woman to hold the position. When news hit the airwaves, Foster received a sea of congratulations from the university, peers, a tweet from Deion Sanders, and kudos from another trailblazer, Jennifer King, the first Black woman to become a full-time assistant coach in the NFL.
“Representation is everything when you are looking to get into uncharted space. This is huge for her, and I’m really happy for her. A lot of my family went to A&T, and I grew up there. I also feel like I am a part of A&T as well,” said King.
The moment was humbling for Foster, who said she “was in complete shock.” Already, she has begun building rapport, changing around logistics, and adding a new flair to the team’s organization. Her new role is something she doesn’t take lightly, and she hopes she can hold the door open for other Black women to run through after her.
“In this space, I have to think twice about how I am carrying myself. I have to make sure I am demanding my respect, especially in a predominantly male environment…It’s a lot…The players point out to me, ‘This changed because of you,’ and it’s things that I’m not even trying to intentionally change. It was just my way of doing things,” said Foster.
Cover photo: Jordyn Foster Makes History as the Youngest & First Woman Director of Football Operations at NC A&T/Photo by Kevin Dorsey/The A&T Register