CHICAGO — Two women who made history as varsity head football coaches in the Chicago Public Schools League were honored Monday by the Chicago Bears.
Kenosha Rhea, better known as ‘Coach K’ of DuSable High School and Joscelyn Mayfield, always known as ‘Coach Nikki’ at Fenger High School, went head-to-head with their football teams on Sept. 15. The matchup was the first time two female-led men’s varsity high school football teams faced off in CPS history.
It was a nationwide first as well, which both women say, they only found out during halftime of the game.
“I was flabbergasted. I was elated. I was overwhelmed with joy,” Mayfield said. “I am the little girl who grew up in Cabrini-Green that has done something that a lot of people would probably never get the chance to do. So, it just moved me.”
The history-making news caught the attention of the Chicago Bears.
“It’s the first time two women have ever faced off, but the fact they are African American women shows another layer about what these women have fought through to become head coaches in a male-dominated sport,” said Gustavo Silva with the Bears Youth & Community Programs.
Because of that significance, the Bears both women to be their ‘Coach of the Week,’ awarding each with a variety of fan gear and tickets to a Dec. 18. Both women will also be honored at halftime.
“It means everything for a team that you grew up watching…to honor you and say, ‘hey, job well done,'” Rhea said. “I’m a diehard Bears fan. I go to at least one game a year, but now I don’t have to pay for the tickets!”
The Bears also awarded $2,000 to both women for their respective school programs.