Kevin Maxen is gay.
No NFL coach had ever publicly come out as gay, so Maxen, an assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars, has remained silent about his sexual orientation.
And that made him angry – at himself.
“It was an anger and hate at myself for empathizing with a life where I was living by other people’s rules and not my own.” Maxen told Outsports. “And I was rightfully angry with myself for thinking I had to live in someone else’s image.”
When the Outsports article was published online Thursday, Maxen became the first male coach in a major US men’s professional sports league to come out as gay. Former San Francisco 49ers offensive assistant Katie Sowers became the first NFL coach to come out as gay in 2017. First-year Sparks coach Curt Miller, who previously coached the Connecticut Sun for seven years, was outside for decades.
According to the article, Maxen made his decision last year and sought advice from Carl Nassib, who became the NFL’s first gay active player in 2021 as a member of the Las Vegas Raiders.
It was Nassib who introduced Maxen to Outsports.
“I don’t want to feel like I have to think about it anymore,” Maxen told Outsports. “I don’t want to feel like I have to lie about who I’m seeing or why I’m living with someone else. I want to be vocal about people living the way they want to live, but I also want to just live and not be afraid of how people will react.”
Jaguars owner Shad Khan expressed his support for Maxen in a statement on Thursday ESPN.
“Kevin is a Jacksonville Jaguar through and through and an important member of our football team and community,” said Khan. “I look forward to seeing Kevin at training camp next week and hope he comes to work confident, free and at peace every day during training and throughout the season. I know our players and staff feel the same way.”
Sam Rapportthe NFL executive director for diversity, equity and inclusion, tweeted a link to the Outsports article.
“Kevin, nothing but [heart emoji]’ Rapoport wrote. “Our @NFL family just keeps getting stronger, bolder, and bolder. #forwardprogress”
Sowers, the former assistant of the 49ers, answered to Rapoport’s tweet: “So happy to see this.”
Maxen played linebacker at Western Connecticut State University’s Division III for three years and was named a first-team defensive back as a senior at the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference in 2018. Maxen was previously a strength coach at Baylor and Vanderbilt and has been with the Jaguars since 2021.
According to Outsports, he’s been dating his current boyfriend for around the same time. And now Maxen is ready for both parts of his life to intersect.
“There are other coaches who have significant others, and they talk about their significant others,” Maxen said. “…I want the person I’m with to be able to share that with me.”