NFL’s First Female Scout

Connie & the Jets Page

In the beginning of 1976, General Manager Al Ward and Director of Player Personnel Mike Holovak asked me if I would like to become the First Woman Scout in the NFL? I was totally thrilled and so honored that they believed in my ability. This was not something I requested or begged for. They came to me and gave me a chance no other female had ever had. They sent me to Ohio State as Coach Hayes gave me access to players and tapes (no videos yet) and practice anytime as he was a believer in me as well. I also went to the Orange Bowl and Boston College and various local colleges.

It sounds strange but since I grew up in football I never thought of myself as a “woman trying to break into a man’s world”. I just loved the game and it has always been what I have been most confident and comfortable talking about with players, coaches, and people in general. I never had a man challenge me or make me feel uncomfortable or that this was unusual, just a lot of respect and great conversations.

After Scouting for 2 years I was brought in and told that the new majority owner, Mr. Leon Hess didn’t feel comfortable with a woman scout/spokesperson. Please don’t forget this was 35 years ago and times were so different. I said I understood and accepted whatever he said. I would still get to do everything but travel. I spend much of my time then grading players on film, writing reports to put in scouting books for the draft, watching Jets practice each day and writing that up, and since there was no combine the Jets would bring in the top 200 players and I would interview them as far as character etc. for the Jets.

My dates with my boyfriend, (now my husband) were often sitting watching reel to reel of players like Joe Delaney RB of Northwestern St. who tragically drowned trying to save 3 children 2 years after that. So I spend many hours watching and evaluating talent though not on the road. But as happens so often in life, the best things come after a disappointment.

NEXT: Connie discovers Mark Gastineau