“When There Was No Money in It, There Were No Men in It”: Examining Gender Differences in the Evaluation of High Performance Coaches

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Claire Schaeperkoetter Northern Illinois University

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Jonathan Mays University of Kansas

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Jordan R. Bass University of Kansas

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In this Insights paper, we examine the continued decrease in the numbers of female coaches of high-profile sports teams. The decline in number of female coaches of high-profile teams is alarming, especially considering the increase in athletic participation among women. Because of this, it is important to examine possible explanations for this issue as a starting point for action and reform. We first detail several relevant examples of recent hires and firings of high-profile coaches in different countries around the world. Then, we briefly examine the relevant literature on gender representation of those working in sport. Using recent women’s basketball coaching changes in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) as a case in point, we aim to demonstrate that the trend of decreasing numbers of female coaches continues. We believe the specific setting of college coaches represents the moral global issue of gender inequity in regards to high-performance coaching settings. Specifically, we argue that a three-pronged conceptual approach—cultural capital, role congruity theory, and homologous reproduction—can provide insights into the hiring practices of female coaches in comparison with their male coaching counterparts.

Claire Schaeperkoetter, Ph.D. is the co-president of the Amateur Sport Research Center at the University of Kansas, assistant professor at Northern Illinois University (beginning Fall 2017), and winner of the 2016 North American Society for the Study of Sport Management Doctoral Research grant and 2016 NCAA Graduate Research Fund.

Jonathan Mays, Ph.D., is the co-president of the Amateur Sport Research Center at the University of Kansas and coordinator of Student-Athlete Development for the University of Kansas athletics department.

Jordan R. Bass, Ph.D. is the associate chair of the Department of Health, Sport, and Exercise Sciences at the University of Kansas. He also serves as the program director for Sport Management and founder and co-editor of the Journal of Amateur Sport.

Address author correspondence to Jordan Bass at jrbass@ku.edu.
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