MVHS graduate

Coor in midst of six-month job with NFL's labor law division

Former Panther cheering coach said her dream job is to work for New England Patriots
By Mark Haskell | Nov 23, 2017
Courtesy of: Rachel Coor Rachel Coor in the National Football League office in New York City.

New York, N.Y. — Former Medomak Valley High School cheering coach Rachel Coor continues to make an impact on athletes no matter what avenue she goes down.

Now, the 39-year-old Union resident is making a difference on one of the most famous avenues in the world — in the most famous of cities — working for perhaps the largest and most visible sports league in the world.

Coor, who last spring had secured an internship in the legal department for Major League Baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks, now is employed by the National Football League as the lone legal fellow in the labor law division of the NFL Management Council.

Coor, who reports to Brook Gardiner, NFL vice-president of labor relations, said the job is a six-month opportunity that began in October and concludes in April.

A lifelong NFL fan, Coor said, “I have to pinch myself every day when I walk into that league office on Park Avenue.”

“It’s a program that the NFL started two years ago where they bring in one law school graduate to help their other labor law attorneys,” she said. “It’s a six-month program so I’ll be done in April, and the hope is that I will be qualified to go work for a team at that point.”

Coor, a 1996 Medomak Valley High School graduate and former three-sport athlete — cross country, cheering and outdoor track — for the Panthers (she also attended Bangor High School for a time), resides in New York during the week and returns home to Union on the weekends.

She graduated from the University of Maine in Augusta in 2002 with a nursing degree and graduated from Arizona State University with her Juris Doctor last spring.

Coor interned with the Diamondbacks until May and “they offered to extend me through the summer as a law clerk” with the understanding her services would no longer be needed by summer’s end.

She then inquired about the NFL job and eventually was hired after a rigorous selection process.

While she could not go into detail on the types of high-profile cases she is involved with, she did say, “I’ve touched bits and pieces on what we see in the news every day” and “it’s fun to watch the news at night because it’s neat to be a part of the issues that are really nationally prevalent.”

“We represent the teams,” she said. “We go to arbitration on behalf of the teams that are fighting with players about any type of dispute that falls under the collective bargaining agreement [CBA].”

Coor added that arbitration is “basically a smaller version of court.”

“It isn’t a binding hearing, but the process is much like what you would go through in civil litigation where we’re collecting evidence, looking at what the contracts say and trying to figure out our best argument and how we can best represent the teams,” she said.

Coor, who has a husband and four-year-old son, said she lives in New York during the week and makes the six-hour drive home to Union each weekend to be with her family.

While her husband, Colin, and son, Kaiden, also come to New York to visit when possible — and both her parents are also involved in caring for her son — “it’s been more taxing emotionally than I thought it was going to be," Coor said.

“It’s heartbreaking, but I feel like I can justify it in the short term by knowing it will benefit my entire family at some point hopefully sooner rather than later,” she said. “I’m doing what I love [and] I’ve got people that support me.”

Coor is not directly involved in the Panther cheering program as she once was, but “worked out a lot of the nuts and bolts for the summer program and I still talk to [varsity coach Heather [Simmons] sometimes two to three times a day.”

Coor coached the Medomak Valley cheering squad six years and led the Panthers to numerous Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B championships and regional titles, along with topnotch finishes at the state competitions before stepping down at the end of the 2013-14 season.

She also spent eight years as an assistant coach at then Rockland District High School with her mother, Mary, as the two led the Tigers to Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference Class B titles from 1997-2004, Eastern Class B crowns in 2003-04 and a state Class B championship in 2003. Coor also spent four years at Mullen High School in Denver, Colo. where she guided that squad to state titles in 2005 and 2007.

When asked what she hopes all this hard work culminates with, she answered the only way a lifelong New England fan can.

“I want to be an attorney for the Patriots,” she said. “I want to work for the Kraft group. That’s not likely to happen in the next six months, but I want to be part of that legal department.”

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