NFL coach comes out, a first for males in US pro sports

Kevin Maxen of the Jacksonville Jaguars wants "to be vocal in support of people living how they want to live."

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kevin Maxen, an associate strength coach of the NFL's Jacksonville Jaguars, came out publicly on Thursday. He's believed to be the first male coach in major US men's pro sports to do so.

Maxen opened up in an interview with Outsports where he said he wants to live his life openly without fear, and that he hopes his story can inspire people to follow suit.

“I don’t want to feel like I have to think about it anymore,” Maxen said. “I don’t want to feel like I have to lie about who I am seeing, or why I am living with someone else.

“...It wasn’t until recently – and with the immense love and support of my family, my friends, colleagues and peers, and the courage and sacrifice from my partner – that I realized I have the right and responsibility to love and be loved, and that maybe sharing this will hopefully give someone else the strength to accept their own life and take control of their own story.”

Maxen's role with Jacksonville entails him to work with offensive and defensive linemen on designing a full workout plan, such as planning exercises, weights and recovery, in addition to traveling with the team.

A linebacker at Western Connecticut State University who earned first-team defense honors in Division III, Maxen has also held roles with Baylor and Vanderbilt as well as internships with the University of Iowa and Army.

He and his partner, Nick, have been together for two-and-a-half years. Maxen initially contacted former Raiders player Carl Nassib in February of 2022 after the defender came out in 2021. Nassib was the first active NFL player to do so at the time, and he connected Maxen with Outsports to eventually share his story.

Some female assistant coaches in the NFL have come out in previous years, such as Katie Sowers in 2017 when she worked for the San Francisco 49ers as an offensive assistant. Los Angeles Sparks head coach Curt Miller is an active out coach in the WNBA.

Maxen said his background in race, religion and sexual orientation helps him tackle issues related to diversity and continued understanding.

“As a Black Jew who has dated both men and women, who has been a strength coach at the highest level of professional football, I’ve learned that how I look, what I believe in, and especially who I am physically or emotionally attracted to should not impact the way I or other people view my worth.

“And it should certainly not dictate what I feel I am capable of accomplishing.”

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