Tucker Center report shows need for more women coaches and racial data

AnotherViewsquareAt the turn of the Title IX era in 1974, over 90 percent of women teams coaches were female – now it’s at an all-time low of 40 percent. The University of Minnesota’s Tucker Center in recent months released two reports that separately looked at female high school and college coaches.

Nicole LaVoi
Nicole LaVoi

Associate Director Nicole LaVoi told the MSR that their third annual Women in College Coaching Report and Report Card is “a half-empty, half-full” report because it found only a half-percent increase in the number of women head coaches from a year ago. “It’s a little progress but it isn’t much.”

The report examined all head coaches of women’s teams at 86 U.S. colleges and universities – 40 percent of 969 coaches are female – golf (58) basketball (54) and softball (49) had the most. Letter grades also were assigned to these schools – two (Cincinnati and Central Florida) got As; Minnesota (57 percent of women’s teams are coached by women) was among nine schools that got Bs, 33 received Cs, 31 got Ds and 11 schools received Fs.

“We doubled the number of As (from one to two)” from last year’s report, LaVoi points out. “But we still have the same number of Bs and Fs.”

The Tucker Center’s 2013-14 Minnesota High School Coaches Report examined 4,000 state high school head and assistant coaches who are Minnesota State High School Coaches Association (MHSCA) members. It found 42 percent of girls’ teams are coached by females – volleyball (215) and softball (89) have the most female head coaches.

After reading both reports, we emailed MHSCA Executive Director John Erickson and asked why any breakdown by race wasn’t included in the high school report. His return email simply said that his group doesn’t keep such data.

LaVoi added that since MHSCA doesn’t collect racial data, her group couldn’t obtain it: “It’s a little dicey to code people’s race,” she explained.

That was head-scratching especially since the NCAA every year releases a Race and Gender Demographics report. You’d think LaVoi’s group, which included two summer interns could have at least gathered and used that data in their college report.

DeLaSalle Head Girls Basketball Coach Faith Johnson Patterson told the MSR that race should always be included on any female coaches report because the numbers “are even worse when it comes to African American females,” she points out. “The statistics are low and absolutely it should be noted.

“It could be hard to track (race)” at the high school level “because there’s so much turnover,” admits the longtime coach. “But I would think that there isn’t a lot of us so it should be easy [to count].”

No recommendations were offered in either report. “The big take on the (college) report was that there’s wide disparity from 90 percent of women coaching at Cincinnati to zero percent at Xavier. Some people are doing really well, and others are doing really badly,” says LaVoi.

The two reports, however tell us two things: 1) a need for “a gender-balanced workforce — especially for women’s teams” whether in high school or college, and 2) it’s seemingly hard to count the low number of Black female coaches at either level. This in itself might not be important to some, but until America reaches a post-racial existence, race always is important to factor in order to begin creating a balanced workforce. “I don’t think anyone wants to tap into how it really exposes the fact that minorities [are] still being discriminated against,” concluded Johnson Patterson.

Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to challman@spokesman-recorder.com


Edited 4/7/2015 10:20 pm