Decrease in female coaches since Title IX enactment

Madison Rexroat

When Title IX, the gender equity law, was created in 1972, 90 percent of women’s college teams were headed by female coaches. Now, they’re down to 40 percent. 

Although the reasons are complicated, it comes down to sexism at nearly every stage of the process of becoming a coach. Women are often dissuaded from pursuing coaching careers because of the competition, the demanding work/life balance, and the lack of role models in the industry.  

That leads to a significant difference in the percent of women who apply for coaching positions vs. the percent of men who apply for the same position. At Notre Dame, nearly 70 percent of assistant coach applicants were male while 30 percent were female.

Another factor is increasing salaries. With the increasing financial success of NCAA sports, higher salaries have been awarded to coaches, which makes the competition even more fierce More men have become coaches of women’s teams, but only 3 percent of men’s teams are coached by women.

Several leaders and organizations have begun to implement ways to change this gap. The Women’s Basketball Coaches Association works to create awareness about female coaches and encourage interest in the career. Other institutions like University of Connecticut (whose women’s basketball head coach is a male) have worked to specifically hire women as assistant coaches, and at South Carolina, female head coach Dawn Staley creates positions for women like the director of analytics, which recently went to Melanie Balcomb.

To read the full story by The New York Times, click here.