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