Maya Ana Callender has made history as the first Black woman to be a full-time talent scout of the New England Patriots, reports Sports Illustrated. She’s also the first woman hired under the tenure of six-time Super Bowl champion coach Bill Belichick, who arrived in 2000.
Following Nancy Meier, the director of the administration who’s been with the team since 1975, she becomes just the second woman to work in the Patriots' scouting department.
According to her LinkedIn page, Callender is a graduate of Utica College and earned a master’s degree from Belhaven University. After graduation in 2016, she joined Princeton as assistant director of football operations in 2017 and was named director in 2019. She completed a three-month fellowship with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2021. She then went on to attend the Phil Savage Scout School and completed another fellowship with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Princeton Tigers head coach Bob Surace lauded Callender for her work ethic and immense knowledge of the game.
“She was able to carve out time almost every day to practice the craft of evaluating," Surace said. "She would look at NFL games, evaluate players and learn scout-speak, the language of talking about somebody’s reach, length, production, how they use their hands. ... She would have a pad out at our practices, taking notes.”
"We have a small staff, so they’re given lots of duties. For some of them like Maya, they rise to the top. To her credit, she started from the ground up and really put herself in a great position to take this next step,” he added.
With Callender joining the Patriots, 33 women now have positions as full-time scouts of NFL teams.