Female football coach at North Hills High School breaking gender norms with leadership, talent

PITTSBURGH — When Coach Jave Brown steps on the football field at North Hills High School — she stands out among her peers.

Not because she’s a woman, but because she’s good at what she does.

“We all speak the same language, which is football,” Brown said.

“I don’t think they treat her any differently at all. She’s Coach Brown. That’s who she is. She comes in, she has a smile on her face, she interacts with our kids, our coaches. She’s just one of the coaches,” said Pat Carey, head coach at the school.

Coach Brown’s resume speaks for itself.

Brown is in her first season as the North Hills running backs coach after serving as a scouting intern for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

She’s also the director of programming and logistics for the National Coalition of Minority Football Coaches.

“It brought me to tears actually when I was doing my interview with the Steelers because it’s an emotional thing. We’ve come so far. Mr. Rooney is really open to just being there to make the change. He’s a pioneer in that area,” Brown said.

The Steelers are where Jave’s love for the game began.

It first piqued her interest on one Sunday in 1992 when her dad and uncles were gathered around the TV.

“He goes, ‘Alright, listen, if you stay quiet during the Steeler game, I’ll teach you football at the 4:00 game.’ I said, ‘Okay, deal,’ and that’s how I learned,” Brown explained.

Brown was initially hired to work behind the scenes with the North Hills program — but quickly proved her football acumen — and big personality — was needed on the sidelines.

“She’s really grown X and O wise, strategy-wise, technique-wise. She’s just a pleasure to be around,” Carey said.

“I’m going to take this opportunity and learn all the things that I can and just keep striving for what I’m looking for,” Brown said.

And Brown’s ultimate goal? To be an NFL general manager.

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