This week Illini Football announced that it hired Ashton Washington as the program’s director of high school relations. Washington is the first African American woman to join the Illini Football staff. She most recently worked for the Houston Roughnecks, an XFL league team.

Lovie Smith, entering his fifth year as the U of I football coach, said in Februrary, "One of these days, you’re going to see a female walking down these hallways too. That’s a big deal for me. Diversity is definitely important to me." It's fantastic that he's actually followed through on this, though I kindly ask that he (and all people) refer to women as women, and not as females.

You can read a little more about Washington in this Sports Illustrated article.

Top image from the University of Illinois athletics department website.