Heather Marini, left, with the Brown Football quarterback squad. Marini recently became the first female position coach in Division I football. Photo courtesy of Brown Athletics.

Date March 19, 2020
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Brown’s Heather Marini named first female position coach in Division I football

A former women’s football star and New York Jets scouting specialist, Marini was promoted to quarterbacks coach after one year as an assistant coach for the team.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Brown University’s football program promoted offensive quality control assistant coach Heather Marini to the position of quarterbacks coach on March 16, making her the first female position coach in NCAA Division I football.

“Being the first doesn’t necessarily mean the only or the last,” Marini said in an interview with Brown Athletics. “There are so many other women coming through that I hope I’m not the [only] for very long.”

Marini joined the Bears coaching staff in 2019 as the offensive quality control assistant coach.

"In one season with our program, Heather has done a great job for us,” said James Perry, head football coach. “She has proven through her efforts in the office every day with us in an off-the-field role that she's ready to run the quarterback room."

As a position coach in charge of quarterbacks, Marini will work with one of the most prolific offensive units in the nation and specifically with Brown's talented quarterbacks group, led by senior First Team All-Ivy quarterback E.J. Perry, who led the nation and set an Ivy League record for total offense in 2019 and was a finalist for the Bushnell Cup as the Ivy League Player of the Year.
James Perry has been a longtime advocate of promoting women into the college football coaching ranks.
“For the past three years, I've been fortunate to have three different women on my staffs, also including Phoebe Schecter and Sue Lizotte,” said Perry, who completed his first year as Brown’s head coach in 2019. “Promoting Heather to our quarterback coach makes us a stronger program, and I know she will be a pioneer in the expanding roles women have in collegiate football.”

Marini joined Brown's coaching staff shortly after attending her first Women's Careers in Football forum, now held at the National Football League’s scouting combine. Prior to coaching at Brown, Marini worked with the New York Jets as a summer scouting specialist. 
A native of Australia, Marini earned a bachelor of emergency health from Monash University and a bachelor of exercise and sport science at Deakin University. She worked with the Monash Warriors Gridiron Club as the head coach for three seasons and as quarterbacks coach/coaching development for three years. 
Marini also played competitively for Gridiron Victoria Women's Tackle Football, where she was the Rookie of the Year and First Team All-State, and Monash Warriors Women's Gridiron, where she was the team's offensive MVP, captain and quarterback.

In her new position as Bears quarterbacks coach, Marini looks forward to continuing to grown Brown’s football program alongside the players and her fellow coaches.

“We’re really building something…” she said. “I couldn’t think of a more perfect fit.”