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Jaguars’ Kevin Maxen is first male coach to come out as gay in US men’s pro sports

Jacksonville Jaguars associate strength coach Kevin Maxen is believed to be the first coach in American men's professional sports to come out as openly gay.
Kevin Maxen of the Jacksonville Jaguars NFL football team.
Jacksonville Jaguars associate strength coach Kevin Maxen publicly came out as gay on July 20, making him the first openly gay coach in NFL history.AP

Jacksonville Jaguars associate strength coach Kevin Maxen is believed to be the first openly gay male coach in major North American men's sports after coming out publicly in an interview with Outsports.

“I don’t want to feel like I have to think about it anymore,” Maxen told Outsports in an interview on July 20. “I don’t want to feel like I have to lie about who I am seeing, or why I am living with someone else. I want to be vocal in support of people living how they want to live, but I also want to just live and not feel fear about how people will react.”

Maxen is believed to be the first openly gay male coach in the NFL and all of major American men's pro sports, according to Outsports. He shared that he has had a boyfriend he has been dating for two years.

“You have other coaches who have significant others, and they’re talking about their significant others,” Maxen said. “And I felt guilty that I couldn’t do the same thing, that I was letting myself down."

San Francisco 49ers assistant Katie Sowers, a pioneer among female coaches in the NFL, came out as the the league's first openly gay coach in 2017, according to Outsports.

Maxen told OutSports he first began questioning his sexuality during his days as an all-conference linebacker for Western Connecticut State University.

He added that he reached out last year for advice on coming out from former Las Vegas Raiders linebacker Carl Nassib, who became the first active openly gay player in NFL history in 2021.

"For a while I had such an anger for myself and hatred that I thought was from a fear of what others might think about who I am,” Maxen said. “But that wasn’t it. It was an anger and hatred of myself because I put myself in a life where I was living by other people’s rules and not by my own."

Jaguars owner Shad Khan shared a message of support for Maxen, who has been on Jacksonville's staff since 2021. He previously worked as a strength coach at Baylor and Vanderbilt.

"Kevin is a Jacksonville Jaguar through and through, and a key member of our football team and community,” Khan told ESPN. “I look forward to seeing Kevin next week at training camp, and hope that he comes to work each day during camp and through the season feeling confident, free and at peace. I know our players and staff feel the same.”