Meet the 3 women behind Jackson State football’s success

Published: Dec. 17, 2021 at 11:24 AM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Jackson State is almost ready to take the field for their very first Celebration Bowl. There’s a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes to make this a championship caliber team. That’s where we meet the women behind Jackson State football.

“If there’s no blood and no bone sticking out, like, your butt’s still on the field.”

Lauren Askevold is the head athletic trainer for JSU football. The opportunity at Jackson State actually came about from another woman in sports.

“There was a tweet out that I kept getting tagged in her name’s Nicole Lynn. She’s one of the few female agents in the industry. She works in NBA and NFL. So she had a tweet out something about, ‘is there any females out there that would like a division one football, athletic training job?’ And so I kept getting tagged and tagged and tagged in it. And so she DM’d me, and she’s like, hey, your name has come up in this tweet a bunch of times, would you be interested in this? I DM her back and I said, ‘Yeah, of course,’” Askevold said.

A few days later, she got a call from Head Coach Deion Sanders. After a 2 minute interview she was hired.

Meanwhile, Latoya Williams has been working with Sanders for nearly a decade. She played a big role in getting Sanders to JSU by pitching him to athletic director Ashley Robinson. Because of her convincing, she is now the only female director of football operations in all of the SWAC.

“He’ll be good for the culture, this hire. We can’t really look at the X’s and O’s of it, this is going to be bigger than football,” Williams said of Sanders’ hiring.

For Dominique Jasmin-Pasley, her career has just begun. While at Prairie View, she had worked with Robinson. The relationship paid off and she jumped at the chance to lead internal operations for JSU football. She’s thankful for the opportunity from Coach Prime.

“He even told me, ‘you know, I was nervous about you.’ At first he told me that before he gave me the honest opinion, which I appreciate him that he even gave me the opportunity come to show him something different,” Jasmin-Pasley said.

When Sanders was first hired, he made it very clear that he as a strong commitment to diversity--one of the many ways he’s helping change the game.

“Coach Prime’s first hires for an athletic trainer, It being a female, he told me he emphasized having women in in this field for him and with his staff,” Askevold said,

“I am grateful that he chose to go that route, because I don’t feel like enough women get their roles in the fields that they don’t even get opportunities,” Williams said.

“At my last school, I was the only female with all males,”Jasmin-Pasley said. “So to come here and have two other females that you can hang with, talk with, and sometimes vent to because sometimes we need each other.”

But what’s going on for these 3 women is a comradery that continues to grow stronger.

“I’m grateful every day that I have Lauren and Dominique,” Williams said. “Because when men don’t understand what you’re going through, you have two women there to talk to.”

“Coach Prime’s thing is blazing new trails,” Askevold said. “And so I think for a woman, the coolest thing is just being able to help blaze the trails for women in the sport.

“I had women that I looked up to as I was going through. So I love the fact that I’m now able to be that for someone else,” Jasmin-Pasley said.

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