Lori A. Gano-Overway
David K. Wiggins
Vicki D. Schull and Lisa A. Kihl
The purpose of this study is to examine the gendered nature of sport leadership by analyzing female college athletes’ perceptions of leadership associated with sport coaching. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 23 female college athletes participating in NCAA Division I team sports to understand their perceptions of leadership associated with coaching and to examine the gendered nature of their leadership constructions. Findings indicated two gendered leadership attributes were associated with coaching (i.e., human capital and empathy) in the context of women’s college sport. While both men and women were cited as ideal leaders based on their human capital and ability to express empathy, these leadership attributes were evaluated and applied differently to male and female coaches. The gendered nature of human capital and empathy contributed to the further privileging of men and certain forms of dominant masculinities over women and forms of femininities within notions of sport leadership and coaching. This study contributes to the gender and sport literature and offers practical implications focused on individual and interpersonal strategies.