ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) – Yes, Sophia Lewin is a woman coaching in the NFL and no this isn’t a story about working in a male dominated field.
Not to downplay the accomplishment, it is worth noting Lewin is just the second ever woman to hold a full-time coaching job with the Bills, but that’s just scratching the surface of her journey to pro football.
At just 24 years old, Lewin landed her first coaching job in the NFL after joining the Bills back in May. And while her experience coaching at Princeton made the transition a little easier given it’s a more pro style system, there was a learning curve when trying to get down one of the most complex offenses in the NFL.
“Majority of the league using that system in terms of the words or the way that you think about things, they use that system. Of course the one team I go to we use the system that like four teams use,” Lewin told News 4.
“Princeton’s offense was the most difficult offense I had to learn and then I came here.”
Luckily, she wasn’t alone.
Lewin is an offensive assistant coach working primarily with the tight ends. So when rookie mini camp came around, she formed a quick bond with the only other rookie tight end, Quinton Morris.
“So it was like, man it’s just me and you so we always partnered together, we’d get together in the morning. Anybody who knows this offense knows it’s quite complicated to learn and a lot to memorize,” Morris told News 4.
“In a lot of ways rookie mini camp was rookie mini camp for me too because I was learning at the same time he’s learning. We’re studying together and I’m quizzing him and as I’m quizzing him I’m really quizzing myself too just to be on it. And he forced me to be on it which I love,” Lewin said.
With a group like this, you can imagine everything gets turned into a competition, even when learning the playbook.
“We have this little opposite game where we have some terms and we’ll have somebody call out one of the plays and we have to relay the opposite so we’ll usually do a game to maybe like five or so. I guess I camera I’ll say she’s won a couple,” Morris laughed.
“I’m competitive at everything, I love winning and I’m not a fun loser because I want to play until I win,” Lewin smiled.
When she’s working in the office, Lewin’s duties help the entire offense but on the field she works with tight ends coach Rob Boras. During the games she’s in the booth with offensive coordinator, Brian Daboll and other coaches charting plays, taking down every detail of the drives. And while it’s a very focused, business like atmosphere in the booth, outside of games that fierce personality is on full display.
“You can definitely tell the fire she talks with, like even when we’re out there she just has so much fire. At first coming in I never expected it but after getting to know her I’m like okay you’ve got a little fire to you,” Morris joked.
It’s not hard to see how driven Lewin is and why she’s coaching in the NFL. And while you see all the hard work she’s put in, something you don’t see is the work her parents’ did to help her get where she is today.
“My mom grew up in Peru and she immigrated to this country and they told her and her parents you can be one of four things: a teacher, a nurse, secretary and a nun. And that’s it,” Lewin explained.
“So my mom worked really hard but she was really passionate about art and my mom built the house that I grew up in, I mean she designed it and it’s the most beautiful thing in world because all I do is I go home and I see my mom. And she didn’t want me to grow up the same way that she grew up and I think that’s the story of every immigrant parent is like I’m gonna make my life better for my child,” Lewin said.
And Lewin made she to take advantage of every opportunity in front of her. She grew up in New Jersey and attended Wayne Hills High School where she worked with the football team for two seasons during her junior and senior year. Lewin then went off to college at Monmouth and became a student assistant with the Hawks football team for three seasons.
After graduating from Monmouth in 2019, Lewin became the receivers coach at Hudson Catholic High School in New Jersey before taking the job at Princeton as an offensive quality control coach. None of this is anything like her mother.
“She’s very creative, she’s probably the best dressed person that I know like she’s very stylish. Just totally different from me, complete opposite of me,” Lewin said.
But her mother didn’t care, actually she embraced it.
“For a long time I felt like, well I’m not gonna be anything like my mom is gonna expect me to be and she’s been the only person that’s ever, ever seen me, at all times, at all parts in my life she has always known how to meet me where I was,” Lewin explained.
The sacrifices her parents made paired with the support they’ve given her add up to why Lewin has made it to where she is today, along with why she’s so driven.
“Education was pushed to me right away, I’m pretty sure she [her mom] got me a shirt that said Harvard on it when I was in kindergarten. I went on and coached for Princeton and I was like well mom I made it to the Ivy League, not in the way you thought I would but here I am,” Lewin said.
“That’s what she did for me as well as my dad. I’ve learned work ethic through them, they didn’t have the same options that I did and so they wanted to make sure that they were gonna work tirelessly to give me everything that I have. So that’s the work ethic that I bring every day.”
Remember that fire Quinton Morris said she has? That’s where it comes from.