At just 23 years old, Janice Pettyjohn made HBCU football history.
The sports medicine graduate recently became the first woman hired for a full-time football position at Howard.
Pettyjohn was offered a full-time position with the Bison and has since transitioned to assistant director of football operations in addition to taking on the responsibilities of director of on-campus recruiting, The Burlington County Times reported.
She’s involved in the recruiting process such as campus tours and runs operations such as maintenance of the football facilities and assists with the coordination of events.
The significance of not only being the first woman hired full-time, but also as a new college graduate making history is not lost on Pettyjohn.
“I’m super grateful for this position,” she told the newspaper. “Being 22 years old and getting a full-time position at Howard fresh out of college — its rare. Coach (Larry) Scott really saw the potential in me.”
With football being a male-dominated sport, Pettyjohn’s current position historically has not had a place for women despite strides made to incorporate women in the sport. Yet Pettyjohn says the biggest hurdle she faced was working in a high-level career at such an early age.
“‘I’m 22, about to be 23, doing what some 30 year old’s are just getting started doing,” Pettyjohn said. “You’re finding coaches on my staff who have coached in the NFL, who have played in the NFL. Coaches, who I’m not going to necessarily say ages, but they’re over the age of 40 and 50, who have been in this game for quite some time. So it was definitely a matter of building trust.”