You may know Lakatriona Brunson for her brief stint on a scripted reality show titled South Beach Tow, where she played Bernice, an ill-tempered tow truck driver. She quickly became a fan favorite for her comedy.
But many fans don’t know that the actress is also the head coach of the Miami Jackson High School football team. When she was hired in 2016, she became the first woman to coach a high school football team in Florida history.
Jackson’s principal Carlos Rios said in an interview with the Miami Herald that he never regretted hiring Brunson.
“We knew what we were getting in her,” Rios said. “We understood what was coming with it. But it really was an easy decision. It wasn’t that hard at all.”
Brunson has a football background. She played the sport as a member of the Miami Fury, which was part of the Independent Women’s Football League at the time. She was a standout athlete in basketball at Tennessee State University. She carries that active lifestyle into the classroom, as she’s an experienced physical education teacher.
Brunson (or Coach B, as her players call her), knows the adversity that comes with being a woman coaching a male-dominated sport. In her first game at the helm in 2016, Jackson won 36-0.
“Once we gave them that little pep talk at halftime they came out on fire,” Brunson told USA Today High School Sports. It’s just the beginning. We’ve got room to grow. Just watch us. For all the naysayers, it’s not me, it’s the kids. They’re working for me.”
Since 2016, Jackson, just like any other high school football team, has had their fair share of wins and losses, some years they struggle to break even, while other years are a little bit better than the last. It’s about improving, playing every day a little better than the day before. To Coach B though, it’s about more than wins and losses. She wants to not only teach these young men how to excel on the football field, but also teach them how to respect women.
“We have a couple rules — respect your teammates, respect women, respect your teachers and be on time, work hard,” Brunson said in a different article with the Miami Herald. “That’s it.”
Players will say that Coach B works them just as hard as any other football coach.
“Maybe even a little harder,” says Keiron Broussard, a senior who graduated in 2016.