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Natalie Randolph introduced as Coolidge High School football coach

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Natalie Randolph proudly takes over as the Coolidge High School Colts' next football coach, joining just a handful of women nationally who have ever held the position.
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Some of the players had played for a female coach in boys' club games, according to sophomore Oluwakemi Bamiro, so seeing Randolph take control of the program was not a new phenomenon. "We all have mothers, so that's a coach. It's not going to be any different," said Bamiro, who took Randolph's environmental science class last year. "We're going to be playing football on Friday nights, trying to get a 'W.' "

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Zarunda Pratt, whose son Dayon is a sophomore wide receiver, has been the Coolidge team mom the past two seasons. She was thrilled to learn that a woman will be coaching her son.

"A female coach will be more compassionate, more concerned about the children getting home at a certain time, and not just making it all about football," Pratt said.

Since The Post first reported Randolph's hiring on Tuesday, two organizations that track coaching hires at the high school level, the Clell Wade Coaches Directory and the National High School Sports Foundation, each said they believed Randolph to be the only woman currently at the head of a varsity football program. They and The Post overlooked Vance, who took over Lehman's program in the Bronx in July 2008 after spending 12 years as the school's junior varsity head coach.

Vance, who led Lehman to a 5-4 record and a playoff berth last season, said Randolph's support system is most critical. Randolph has brought on some assistants so far, including former longtime H.D. Woodson head coach Bob Headen, who was a Woodson assistant in 2006, when Randolph became a wide receivers coach for the Warriors.

Also on the staff is Monica Livingston, one of Randolph's former Divas teammates. When Randolph approached her about coming aboard, the two shared plenty of concerns -- none of which involved gender.

"We didn't have that conversation, I'm sure, to everyone's dismay," Livingston said. "This female stuff is irrelevant to us because we've always been females."


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