Black women square off as head coaches in historic CPS football game


CHICAGO — It was historic Thursday as two black women squared off as varsity head football coaches in the Chicago Public Schools League.

Konesha Rhea, DuSable’s head coach and Jouscelyn Mayfield, Fenger’s head coach, go way back as good friends. But Thursday, they made state history.

“Once the coin toss, once the whistle blows, we’re enemies for the next 60 minutes,” Konesha Rhea said. “But after that, whoever wins, we’re going to congratulate our sister and say, ‘job well done.’”

While winning is important, Rhea, also known as “Coach K,” said her job is more than going after victories, but instilling lessons from the field into real life.

“Instilling pride, you’re instilling accountability, integrity,” Rhea said. “You instill respect, you instill hard work and never-give-up attitudes.”

Jouscelyn Mayfield, also known as “Coach Nikki,” has similar philosophies for her young athletes.

“Stay determined, stay motivated, don’t live for now, live for the future and they are my future,” she said. “So I have to pour into them so they can pour into me.”

When it comes to the DuSable panthers, “Coach K” isn’t the only female — she has two girls playing for her.

“Some people’s teams don’t know what they are doing,” said DuSable sophomore Malakneya Lee. “So she’s here to help us to be hard on us so we can understand what we do more and I’m glad she’s doing it in a game as competitive as football.”

According to Mike Clark, Fenger picked up a big win Thursday, 50-0.

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