Soaring with the Eagles

Story by Fred Sauceman | Photo courtesy of the Philadelphia Eagles


Listen to an interview with Autumn from WETS-FM's Vital Voices.

East Tennessee State University alumna Autumn Lockwood has seen a lot of collegiate football bowl games during her lifetime. That’s because her father, David Lockwood, coached in about 16 of them. A graduate of West Virginia University, where he was a three-year starter at cornerback, David tutored defensive backs in several of college football’s most prestigious conferences.

One of his assignments was at the University of Arizona, where he coached the cornerbacks. His daughter Autumn would later earn a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with a minor in psychology there. Her intention was to pursue a career as a special agent with the United States Department of Justice’s Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Division.

But, as she says, “I loved the weight room.”  

Although she was required to spend many hours there as a member of Arizona’s women’s soccer team, life in the locker room was more than an obligation. It was where she experienced what she calls her “lightbulb moment.”

Seeking a graduate assistantship in her newly chosen field, she enrolled in the master’s program in sport management at ETSU, a decision that would soon change her life in a major way. She was already familiar with the region, since her father had once coached defensive backs at Appalachian State University in nearby Boone, North Carolina.

ETSU Alumna Autumn Lockwood smiling on the sideline of Philadelphia Eagles wearing a team hoodie and jacket.

ETSU Alumna Autumn Lockwood on the sideline of Philadelphia Eagles.

She quickly found a place in the Buccaneer athletic program, working with the women’s and men’s basketball teams on strength and conditioning. After earning her graduate degree, she took a full-time position with the women’s program at ETSU.

I was able to see the sports world run from a bird’s-eye view — everything from operations to budgets to management,” Autumn says.

In 2021, she became Director of Sports Performance at the University of Houston. The very next year, another life-altering moment took place when the National Football League came calling. She joined the Philadelphia Eagles as a strength and conditioning associate.

Born less than 20 miles away in Chester, Pennsylvania, she was coming home.

“It was such a blessing to be back home around family,” she recalls. “Now I get to watch my baby cousins grow up. And my whole entire family has been Eagles fans since I’ve been born.”







“Our whole week is built around making sure the players are ready to go on Sunday.”

Autumn Lockwood





She joined the Eagles at the right time. The team earned a spot in Super Bowl LVII. And Autumn earned a spot in professional sports history. On February 12, 2023, when the Eagles played the Kansas City Chiefs in Glendale, Arizona, Autumn became the first Black woman to coach in the Super Bowl.

As impressive as all those collegiate bowl games had been, she says the Super Bowl inspired her with its grandness. Yet amid the pageantry, she had a vital job to perform: setting up the weight room in a new environment and making sure the team could still operate as it normally would back in Philadelphia.

She did her job well. And in the 2023 off-season, Autumn was promoted to Associate Performance Coach.

“Our whole week is built around making sure the players are ready to go on Sunday,” she tells ETSU Today. Her responsibilities include the tight ends and running backs.

Autumn is certified as a yoga instructor, too, bringing that knowledge into the locker room when asked.

“It helps with peace of mind and body control,” she said. “In sports, everything is so heightened all the time.”

On Sundays during Eagles games, Autumn is on the field, helping with pre-game warm-ups and assisting with sideline management.

“People at all levels of the organization are so welcoming,” she says. “I learn something new every single day.”

For Autumn, life has come full circle. As her father often tells her, “It’s so cool for me to be able to watch you do your thing after you watched me do mine for so many years.”

Read more incredible stories in the Winter 2024 Edition of ETSU Today. #BucsGoBeyond

ETSU Today | Winter 2024

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