NFL hires Sarah Thomas as first full-time female official

NFL hires Sarah Thomas as first full-time female official

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Sarah Thomas is officially one of nine first-year NFL officials.

The NFL roster of game officials for the 2015 season will include nine first-year NFL officials, the league announced Wednesday.

Thomas will join the NFL as a line judge after officiating in Conference USA since 2007. She is the first female to be assigned full-time to an NFL officiating crew and will be the second female to officiate in a regular-season NFL game. Shannon Eastin, an official in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, served as a line judge for the first three games of the 2012 NFL season.

Thomas worked New Orleans Saints 2013 training camp in Metairie as part of the National Football League's Officiating Development Program.

The nine first-year NFL officials are graduates of the NFL Officiating Development program, which trains top college football officials in all aspects of NFL officiating. They will be on the field at team OTA sessions next month.

Also included among the nine is side judge Walt Coleman IV, the son of the dean of NFL officials, referee Walt Coleman, who will enter his 27th season in 2015. Coleman and Coleman IV will become the third active father-son officiating duo, joining Ed and Shawn Hochuli and Steve and Brad Freeman.

"Our incoming officials have all demonstrated that they are among the best in college football," said NFL Vice President of Officiating Dean Blandino. "We are excited about having them join us."

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