Becky Hammon is an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs which was a historical hiring for the NBA. This summer she coached the Spurs summer league team in Las Vegas to a championship. Of course this generates much discussion on the issue of women coaching men’s professional sports. Let’s admit that much of us self-proclaimed enlightened and progressive mindful people of the world think this will not bring a rush to hire more women coaches. This is a process that will take years to happen, one baby step at a time.
The most viable reason to look for women coaches for men’s sports is the leadership and tactical abilities. Basketball is a logical choice for women to coach because of the commonality along with, soccer, hockey, volleyball and semi team sports of track, swimming and water polo, etc. Women coaches in football and baseball is something that I don’t see happening for a very long time. To manage a locker room of sixty men and a coaching staff is tough for any individual. There are instances where women were raised in football and baseball environments and they get a chance to coach up through the ranks.
The process of hiring more professional women coaches for men’s sports will gain more steam when we see more at the lower levels, even coaching the kids as young as six years old. A cross gender coaching movement will push the cream to the top and then we will see more results. Along the way, attitudes and stereotypes will be abused but slow progress will happen. Becky Hammon is the first NBA coach but will she be the first head coach? Remains to be seen when Gregg Popovich retires if she is considered.
The numbers of women coaching men sports at the collegiate level is miniscule, somewhere under three percent. The high school level has some female coaches, with the most heralded head coach, being Natalie Randolph who coached football in Washington DC. Increasingly, colleges do offer sports management degrees so there are more avenues being opened. This will address one of the problems, that being that the candidate pool is small for women. Surprisingly, women only make up less than 45 percent of the coaches in collegiate women sporting teams. Sports management will increasingly add more women in due time because of the available resources, there are mentors are in place and world is becoming more accepting.
Photo – Garrett Ellwood/NBA
Okay, after forty years even Moses found his way out of the desert.. The fan base of the Golden State Warriors has waited patiently for almost forty years to celebrate a NBA championship. That NBA championship trophy was last hoisted in 1975, led by a Ricky Barry Warrior team that beat the Washington Bullets in four games. The euphoria lasted a long time because Warrior fans are some the most Read More →
Iconic College Basketball Coach
There is small of group of college basketball coaches that are placed at the pinnacle of success. Then there is Dean Smith, the iconic coach of University of North Carolina. Dean Smith passed away on February 7th at the age of 83. Smith transcends all those with more victories, winning percentages and national championships because he created such a style and team style play that is considered the gold standard for college basketball coaching. He was a great mentor to players whom graduated at rate of 97% and Smith has also been credited with running a “clean” program.
Smith accomplishments are as follows: 879 wins in 36 years of coaching, 4th most in men’s college Division I basketball history behind Bob Knight, Mike Krzyzewski and Jim Boeheim and most wins of any coach at the time of his retirement. In comparison Adolph Rupp won 876 in 41 years of coaching. Smith compiled a 77.6% winning percentage while coaching 1, 133 games at an average of 31.5 games a season. His winning percentage puts him 9th on the highest winning percentage.
Smith’s coaching style varied depending on the type of players he had on his squad. Even though he liked the fast break the best, he is mostly known for a half-court offense emphazing the passing game. On defense he employed an aggressive trapping scheme to produce turnovers and easy baskets.
Smith really emphasizes team mates to always pick each other up both physically and mentally. His players pointed at each other when the other made a great play or assist. The team would also huddle at the free throw line before a foul shot. Smith took care of his seniors for their loyalty by starting them in the last home game of the year. He was such as great motivator without having to resort to loud angry vocal displays.
His accolades are numerous such as, coach of year, various hall of fames and he was the first recipient of the Mentor Lifetime Achievement, given by the University of North Carolina committee on Teaching Awards for “broader range of teaching beyond the classroom.” He has also been awarded honorary doctorates by Eastern University and Catawba College.
Lastly, one hallmark Smith’s tenure as coach was the concept of the “Carolina Family”, the idea that anyone associated with the program was entitled to the support of others. Many of his former players and coaching staff became successful basketball coaches and executives. Dean Smith was one of a kind with the combination of skills that included innovation and teaching while being a kind and decent human being.
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