Janice Pettyjohn is the First Woman to Become Employed by Howard University’s Football Team

As the climate changes for minority and underrepresented hires, Howard University makes history in hiring Janice Pettyjohn to become the first woman hired to a full-time position for the school’s football program.

According to HBCU Gameday, Pettyjohn, a New Jersey native, will join the Howard University Bisons as the lead person behind on-campus recruiting, operations management involving the maintenance of the football facilities and assist with event coordination. “I’m 22, about to be 23, doing what some 30-year-old’s are just getting started doing,” Pettyjohn said in an interview with the Burlington County Times. “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 their ages, but they’re over the age of 40 and 50, who have been in this game for quite some time.”

“Ironically, I’ve always been an artsy girl,” she said, highlighting her love of the arts before working in sports. “So, painting, art, I still do to this day — that’s what my hobbies are.”

Health issues would force her to reassess her career, she then would graduate from Howard University’s Sports Medicine Residency program with a minor in sociology. Coach Larry Scott, who had taken over the football program, offered her a full-time position at Howard. 

“I’m super grateful for this position,” she said. “Being 22 years old and getting a full-time position at Howard, fresh out of college—it’s rare. Coach Scott really saw the potential in me,” she said. Pettyjohn said she owes her success to her mentors and co-workers at Howard who have taken the time to guide her and gave her opportunities. 

“Two of our associate AD’s will literally just call me sometimes to say you’re doing a great job,” Pettyjohn said. “Our academic advisors will just call me and say you’re doing it. And my coaches tell me all the time. So even when I don’t feel it, if I don’t give myself the credit, there’s always someone else there in my ear.”