Semester of Graduation

Spring 2019


Master of Science (MS)



Document Type




At the time Title IX passed in 1972, over 90% of women’s athletic teams were coached by women. By 2014, that percentage had dropped to 43%. This study used in-depth interviews with four female Division I assistant basketball coaches with varying years of experience to explore their experiences and attitudes towards becoming head coaches. The interviews revealed five major themes: (a) The Power of Same-Sex Role Models; (b) Gender Differences and Whether They Matter; (c) Title IX Collateral Damage: “It’s Nothing but the Money”; (d) Gender-Related Obstacles; and (e) Preparation for “Moving Over One Seat.” The findings reveal that the development of additional strategies for helping women pursuing head coaching positions within women's, as well as men's, athletics are needed and will be important for creating gender equity in the field. Three main conclusions were drawn from the interviews with female assistant coaches: 1) It is vital to increase the numbers of women in leadership positions in athletics, 2) gender is highly relevant to coaching and thus it is vital for institutions to address gender issues rather than to ignore them, and 3) institutions need to re-consider their hiring policies and practices in order to get more women into leadership positions.

Committee Chair

Alex C. Garn