This is an examination of how homophobia and the lesbian label impact the professional careers of women basketball coaches at Division I universities. In-depth telephone interviews were conducted with 10 women who were head coaches of women’s intercollegiate basketball programs. Two areas in particular were explored in this 75-minute interview: (1) coaching careers, and (2) recruitment of athletes. Relative to coaching careers, coaches discussed how the homophobia in women’s sport narrowed career choices for women and impacted decisions related to the hiring of both head and assistant coaches. The lesbian label also was a concern in terms of the image projected by a basketball program. Secondly, coaches discussed how various aspects of the recruitment process were influenced by the lesbian label. Inquiries by prospective student-athletes, parents, and high school coaches about lesbians on a coaching staff or team were common. The practice of using insinuations about the presence of lesbians on rival teams was mentioned as a frequent negative recruitment technique. Concerns relative to lesbian issues also were identified as being influential in the recruitment decisions of some coaches. In general, most coaches preferred to discuss how lesbian issues impacted other coaches rather than relay accounts of their own experiences in coaching. Fear, silence, denial, and the apologetic were noted to underlie many of the responses provided by coaches.
Susan Wellman and Elaine Blinde
Guest Editors: Nicole M. LaVoi (University of Minnesota), Jennifer E. McGarry (University of Connecticut), and Leslee A. Fisher (University of Tennessee) EDITORIAL “Fitful but Undeniable Progress” or Just the Same Old Same Old? Introduction to the Women in Sport Coaching Special Issue Leslee A
June I. Decker
The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of selected variables upon role conflict as experienced by teacher/coaches in small colleges and universities. Three types of role conflict—intersender, intrasender, and person-role—were considered. The effects of the gender of the teacher/coach, number of teams coached, type of sport coached, type of classes taught, and role preferred by the teacher/coach were examined. Survey data were collected from 735 randomly selected teacher/coaches from small colleges. The Role Conflict Scale was used to determine the amount of role conflict experienced by the subjects. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) techniques were used to test the hypotheses. Results indicated that subjects who preferred the singular role of coaching experienced significantly more intersender and person-role conflict than those who preferred the dual role of teaching and coaching.
Robin G. Cash
This article explores a women’s way of coaching and being in sport that existed prior to Title IX. It considers a shift from an organic to a mechanistic coaching approach. An alternative model based on the concept of organicism and underlying principles of relational power, life-affirming actions, and inclusiveness of all beings is presented. This model emerged from three sources: (a) personal experience; (b) dissertation research interviews with former athletes of Eleanor Snell, who coached at Ursinus College from 1931 to 1972; and (c) the literatures of systems theory, systemic thinking, and Chinese philosophy. The life-affirming organic model re-visions sport, where sport is an important site for transformation not only of our individual selves but also of our human cultures.
Mee lee Leung
The purpose of this study was to investigate the attitudes of 130 male and female athletes toward female coaches in Hong Kong. Athletes, selected from 14 individual sports, responded to a questionnaire that included 34 attitudes’ items using a 5-point Likert Scale and a question involving preference, in which subjects indicated their preferences toward male or female coaches. An independent t-test analysis (p < .05) revealed that athletes reported a favorable attitude toward female coaches. Chi-Square analysis revealed that athletes preferred a male coach to a female coach.
Stephanie Habif, Judy L. Van Raalte and Allen Cornelius
Opportunities for women in sport in the United States changed dramatically in the 1970s with the passage of Title IX. Researchers during the 1980s, however, indicated that negative attitudes toward female coaches remained. The purpose of this research was to assess current attitudes toward male and female coaches in two sports. In Study 1, 139 basketball players read scenarios and evaluated hypothetical coaches. Based upon the results, there were no overall differences in attitudes toward male and female coaches on the Attitudes of Athletes Toward Male versus Female Coaches (AAMFC-Q) questionnaire (Weinberg, Reveles, & Jackson, 1984). However, males expressed a significant preference for male coaches, t(78) = −8.84, p < .001. In Study 2, 129 volleyball players read scenarios and rated hypothetical coaches. In contrast to the basketball players, volleyball players showed no significant differences in their attitudes toward or preferences for a coach of a particular gender. Base upon the results of both studies we suggest that attitudes toward female coaches are changing, but preferences for male coaches may still exist, particularly for athletes involved in traditionally masculine sports.
Joseph P. Mazer, Katie Barnes, Alexia Grevious and Caroline Boger
Team sports have become a vital informal learning setting in which athletes are taught, motivated, and mentored by their coaches. This experimental study examined the effects of coach verbal aggression on athlete motivation and perceptions of coach credibility. Results revealed that athletes exposed to a verbally aggressive coach were significantly less motivated and perceived the coach as less credible than athletes who were exposed to a coach who used an affirming style. With respect to credibility, athletes perceived a verbally aggressive coach as significantly less competent, trustworthy, and caring than a coach who used an affirming style. Implications and areas for future research are discussed. Case-study questions are presented for discussion by scholars and students.
Donna L. Pastore, Bernie Goldfine and Harold Riemer
The present study examined the perceptions of coaches to identify and assess the important areas in which athletic administrators may provide support. A total of 173 NCAA college coaches responded to a questionnaire consisting of 46 items that elicited the importance attached to each item. Principal component analysis of the importance data set yielded six components: Game Management, Decision Making, Nondiscriminatory Work Environment, Job Benefits/Salary, Program Support, and Evaluation. Multivariate analyses of variance (MÁNOVA) was used to analyze the set of dependent variables (Importance of Items) with the independent variables (Gender and Division). The MÁNOVA showed a significant relationship for the main effects of gender and division for the importance of the components. Univariate analyses indicated a significant difference between males and females on the Decision Making component. Male coaches rated Decision Making more important than female coaches. Univariate analyses further revealed significant differences for the components Program Support and Nondiscriminatory Work Environment by division. Tukey's post-hoc analyses showed that Division III coaches rated Program Support significantly higher than those in Division I and II. No significant difference was found between Division I and II coaches. Regarding Nondiscriminatory Work Environment, a significant difference was found between Division I and III coaches in that Division III coaches rated this component significantly higher than their counterparts in Division I.
Cheryl Govero and Barbara A. Bushman
Athletes are at a high risk for eating disorders due to the pressures placed on them by themselves as well as coaches. The purposes of this study were (1) to determine the knowledge level of eating disorders among cross country coaches, (2) to determine their level of confidence in this knowledge, and (3) to determine reported sources of educational resources. Four schools were randomly selected from each NCAA Division I conference (return rate: 48%). A two-part questionnaire assessed sources of information and knowledge of eating disorders. Literature and sponsored programs were the two most common sources of information. For the 30 knowledge questions, coaches indicated their confidence level on a 4-item Likert-type scale. The knowledge of the majority of coaches was relatively high, and those with higher accuracy also had higher confidence. The confidence level and the percent of coaches answering each question correctly were significantly correlated, r=0.56 (p<0.01) but the confidence level and the percent answering incorrectly were not significantly correlated, r=0.24 (p=0.24). There were no significant differences in knowledge scores considering years of coaching (p=0.67) nor were there any significant differences in the scores between males and females (p=0.17). Although the cross country coaches were quite knowledgeable, additional ways to increase knowledge of eating disorders are needed.
Donna L. Pastore
The present study examined the factors that influence male and female 2-year college coaches of women's teams to select and possibly leave a career in coaching. Of 200 coaches from five athletic conferences in the Mid-Atlantic/New England region, 90 (45%) participated in the study. Two separate MANOVAs were used to analyze each of the two sets of dependent variables (reasons for selecting and reasons for leaving coaching) with the independent variable (gender). Univariate analyses showed that females valued “helping female athletes reach their athletic potential” as a reason for being a coach significantly more than males did. Female coaches also rated significantly higher than males the factors “burden of administrative duties” and “increased intensity in recruiting student-athletes” as reasons to leave the coaching profession.