University of Minnesota

2017 Spring TC e:News

The Tucker Center, in collaboration with the Alliance of Women Coaches, released the fifth installment of the annual report, “Head Coaches of Women’s Collegiate Teams: A Report on Select NCAA Division-I Institutions”, in February of 2017. Authored by Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi, the report is designed to hold institutions accountable for their hiring practices and create awareness about the nationwide stagnation and under-representation of women coaches in head coaching positions. Academic institutions included in this year’s report came from seven prominent Division I conferences: The AAC, ACC, Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, and SEC. The report documents the percentage of female head coaches of women's teams in "big time" collegiate athletics and assigns each institution a letter grade based on that percentage.

For the 2016-17 year, females represented 41.2% of all head coaches of women’s teams. There was no net gain of female coaches from the 2015-16 report. The data from our report cards, as well as data regarding the number of female collegiate coaches over the last decade, indicate that we need to move away from the popular and pervasive “decline narrative” that has been part of the popular discourse surrounding employment practices in women’s sports. It is time to declare a new narrative about the current era--stagnation. A major decline in the percentage of women coaches of women’s teams occurred after the passage of Title IX in 1972 (90+%) to the current level which hovers around 40 (±2%). But while this dramatic decline seems to have stopped, the percentage of women coaches does not seem to be increasing in any statistically significant way despite the efforts of many individuals and groups.

Of the 86 athletic programs included in the report, only Cincinnati and Central Florida earned As (the same two institutions have earned As over the last three years). On the other end of the spectrum, West Virginia and Syracuse had the lowest percentage of female head coaches, each school with only 9.1%. Another finding was that for the third year in a row, more institutions received As and Bs (22.1%) than received a failing grade of F (12.9%). Notably, institutions earning a B increased in number from 13 to 17 in a single year. Regarding employment trends in specific sports, field hockey had the greatest percentage of female head coaches (100%) for the fifth consecutive year. In sharp contrast, water polo and alpine skiing had no female head coaches.

As in previous reports, the 2017 Women Coaches Research Series & Report Card succeeded in fostering a national dialogue about women in the coaching profession. For example, the report garnered national coverage from several noteworthy news outlets, including a piece by Sean Morrison with espnW.

This year’s report highlights how the longitudinal series is being used for social change. Among these uses are: 1) athletic administrators employ it as a “bragging right”; 2) conference commissioners see the report as a tool for developing programming to support women coaches; 3) ADs use it as a way to recruit and retain talented coaches; and 4) women coaches use it as a tool to help them assess “goodness of fit” when on the job market or making a career move. All of these applications contribute to our goal of making coaching a more gender-balanced profession, for the good of both the coaches and the young athletes with whom they interact.

The Tucker Center also released report cards on head coaches of women’s teams at Division-II and Division-III institutions for the 2016-17 year. To view and download any of the reports in our longitudinal series, visit our Tucker Center website at

On Friday, April 21, the Tucker Center (TC) will be hosting the 4th annual Women Coaches Symposium (WCS) at the TCF Bank Stadium on the U of M campus. This event reflects the strong partnership among the TC, the Alliance of Women Coaches (AWC), Gopher Athletics and regional athletic conferences including the UMAC, MIAC and NSIC. This year’s symposium is nearly sold out at over 350+ participants and has grown rapidly since its inception four years ago. The WCS will open with remarks by TC Co-Director Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi, Executive Associate Athletics Director for the University of Minnesota Julie Manning, and Executive Director of the Alliance of Women Coaches, Megan Kahn. The symposium will also welcome back by popular demand Dr. Cindra Kamphoff, who will examine how to develop a mentally tough mindset, and Dr. Carly Anderson, who will focus on athlete mental health and well being.

The Jean K. Freeman Keynote Speaker is Jill Ellis. Ellis is the head coach of the United States Women's National Soccer Team and a development director for the United States Soccer Federation, overseeing the national youth teams development program. Ellis has led the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team as head coach since 2014. In 2015, she guided the team to its first World Cup victory since 1999, and in January 2016, she was named FIFA Women's World Coach of the Year. Last summer, Ellis coached the Women’s National Team at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She was also an assistant coach for the Women’s National Teams that won gold in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics as well as interim head coach for Women’s National Team before stepping into the position permanently in May, 2014.

New additions to this year’s program include: 1) a session on resilience, stress, and performance with Jenny Evans, CEO of PowerHouse Performance; 2) a workshop on creating cultural competencies in coaching; 3) the screening of Sporting Chance: The Lasting Legacy of Title IX, with Dr. JoAnn Buysse; 4) a session on the Paradox for Women Coaches, by Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi; and 5) a “Championship Panel” of coaches whose teams have won conference, state, regional, or national level championships.

The primary goal of the Symposium is to increase and retain women in the coaching profession. Toward that end, the Tucker Center staff—under the guidance of Dr. Nicole LaVoi—have worked hard to ensure high quality educational programming. A key component of this programming is creating a forum for networking and building community for women in the coaching profession. To register for the few remaining tickets and learn more about the WCS, please visit our website.

In conjunction with National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD), the Tucker Center and U of M Athletics hosted the annual Tucker Center Film Festival (TCFF) this February. The Festival marked the 7th anniversary of this important event where we celebrate films that feature women’s sport and female athletes. This year we featured The Founders, an iconic story of 13 women who together battled society, prejudice, and preconception to create a lasting, global sporting legacy in golf. While their male counterparts drew adoring crowds and big financial purses for their athletic achievements, these pioneering women used money from their own pockets to stage tournaments in small, out-of-the-way towns that often questioned whether female golfers were even worth watching. Together, they logged thousands of miles every week just for the opportunity to tee off on courses they also had to groom.

With the creation of the Ladies Professional Golf Association, The Founders forged a path for future women to be celebrated and taken seriously as highly gifted, competitive athletes. The Founders Film will premiere on the world stage at the 40th Annual Atlanta Film Festival this April. But due to the generosity of Gopher Athletics who co-sponsored this event, as well as Charlene Fisk and Carrie Schrader who provided the feature film, the Tucker Center was able to first show the film to over 100 viewers this past February. If you have ideas for the 8th anniversary of the TCFF in 2018, please send them our way!

Anna Baeth joined the Tucker Team in the Fall of 2015. A native of Frederick, MD, Baeth graduated from Swarthmore College (PA) with a degree in Sociology / Anthropology and Education Studies . At Swarthmore, she played field hockey and lacrosse, and studied abroad in Costa Rica where her passion for social change through sport began. Also while at Swarthmore, Baeth founded Chester Neighborhood Bike Works, an organization that allows young people in Chester, PA to build and earn ownership of bicycles. In 2009, she rode her bicycle across the U.S. with the non-profit Bike and Build to raise awareness of affordable housing issues.

Baeth earned her M.S. in Exercise and Sport Studies from Smith College in 2011, where she wrote her thesis, The Voice(less) Behind the Whistle: Female Coaches and Storytelling. While living in Western Massachusetts, she served as the Assistant Field Hockey Coach at Mount Holyoke College and the Assistant Lacrosse Coach at Elms College. From 2012 to 2015, Baeth was the Head Field Hockey Coach at Oberlin College in Ohio.

As a doctoral student in Kinesiology at the U of M, Baeth is also a research assistant in the Tucker Center and a teaching assistant in the School of Kinesiology. Being a part of the Tucker Center has afforded her the opportunities to see the inner-workings of an interdisciplinary Research Center and to work with renowned scholars from varying institutions and disciplines. Most significantly, the outreach efforts of the Tucker Center—including the Distinguished Lecture Series and the Women Coaches Symposium—have allowed her to see the impact a Research 1 Center may have not only in the academy, but in relationships built with communities and professionals across the Twin Cities.

Under the guidance of Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi, Baeth has been able to pursue her passion for understanding the ways research may be utilized to develop lasting social change for women coaches and female athletes. Currently, she is examining the strategies and decision-making processes coaches use to negotiate their coaching careers. In her free time, Baeth enjoys coaching lacrosse, riding her bicycle, and rock climbing. Upon completion of her doctorate, she plans to continue to conduct research on women in the coaching profession.

Honors & Awards

TC Co-Director Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi, was awarded a grant by the NCAA Office of Inclusion to study “Athletics Administration Best Practices of Recruitment, Hiring and Retention of Head Women Collegiate Sport.” This study grew out of the Women in College Coaching Report Card, now in it’s 5th year. For the few institutions who receive an A or B on the Report Card, no data have been previously collected regarding what practices, policies, philosophies, or institutional norms exist as to what these “above average” athletics administrators are doing (if anything) to recruit, hire and retain women head coaches. This study aims to fill that gap in the knowledge base.

The Tucker Center is proud to provide a variety of high quality educational and mentorship experiences for students including a research assistantship, summer internship and graduate fellowship. We attract the “best and brightest” who go on to make a real difference in a variety of professional and academic disciplines around the country. Recently, a number of former Tucker Team members have taken new positions. Read below to see what great work they are doing! #UMNProud

  • Julia Dutove, Ph.D., research assistant (2011-14), is now an Assistant Professor (Athletic Coaching Coordinator) in the department of Human Performance at Minnesota State University, Mankato.
  • Alicia Johnson, Ph.D., summer intern (2009), is the Director of the Women's Center and a Lecturer in Women's and Gender Studies and Kinesiology at the University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh.
  • Marnie Kinnaird, M.S., research assistant and Borton Fellow (2015, 2016), is an Executive Assistant in the San Francisco office of Peer Health Exchange, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing health equity in young people by training college students to teach a skills-based health curriculum in under-resourced high schools across the country.
  • Summer intern (2014) Elizabeth Labedz, M.Ed., recently accepted the position of Central Region Program Coordinator at Girls On The Run Chicago where she provides program support and resources to coaches and site coordinators in schools throughout Chicago as they deliver the Girls On The Run curriculum. In her position she will expand outreach to new sites and oversee coach training.
  • Two-time summer intern (2012, 2013) Emma Leyden started a new job in March at Excelle Sports, based in New York City, where she is interning with the editorial team. Excelle Sports is the first multimedia platform dedicated to women’s sports offering news, features, interviews, video, scores and rankings, as well as a curated marketplace of women’s sportswear and equipment.

Scholarly Presentations

Last November, many affiliated with the Tucker Center attended and presented at the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport (NASSS) Annual Conference in Tampa Bay, FL:

  • Affiliated Scholar Kent Kaiser (University of Northwestern, Communication) presented a paper, “Women’s Sports Have ‘Arrived’—Not! Newspaper Sports Coverage Pre-/Post-Title IX”
  • Director Mary Jo Kane and LaVoi presented their paper, “An Examination of Intercollegiate Athletic Directors’ Attributions Regarding the Declining Number of Female Coaches in Women’s Sports”
  • LaVoi presented “Let the data tell the story: The landscape of college athletics for women coaches”; and Kane was part of an invited panel, “Public Sociology of Sport: Moralistic or Radical Approaches?”

In April, Kaiser will present, “Women's & Men's Prominence in US Sports Media in Large-, Medium-, & Small-City Newspapers, 1932-2012,” at the International Society for the History of Physical Education and Sport 2017 Congress in Alexandria, Egypt.

On April 6-7, Kane will be a panel member at “Game Changers: Sport, Gender and Society,” a conference on sport and gender sponsored by the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. Kane's panel will examine media coverage given to women's and men's sports.

The Tucker Team will present at the Sport and Exercise for Social Justice Conference, April 6-8, at the University of Virginia. LaVoi will present “Using Data to Create Social Change: The Case of the Women College Coaches Report Card.” Research assistant Anna Baeth will be part of a panel, “Deep Listening, Activist Coaching, and Intentional Relationship Building: A Graduate Student Readings Group on Sport and Social Responsibility.”

LaVoi will be part of a panel, “Equity on the Sidelines: Examining the X’s and O’s of Developing, Supporting, and Advancing Women Coaches in Intercollegiate Athletics” at the 2017 NCAA Inclusion Forum, April 21-23 in Providence, RI.

Throughout late fall and spring 2017, LaVoi gave multiple presentations pertaining to women sport coaches at the following institutions and organizations: Alliance of Women Coaches, Arizona State University, LA84 Sport Foundation Summit, Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Symposium, NCAA Women Coaches Academy, National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA), United States Professional Tennis Association (USPTA) Southwest, and Villanova University. If you missed Dr. LaVoi’s Fall 2016 Distinguished Lecture, "Paradox, Pitfalls, & Parity: Where have all the women coaches gone?“ you can view it online!


TC Affiliated Scholar Laura Burton (University of Connecticut, Educational Leadership) has two research papers in press: "Pervasively Offside: An examination of sexism, stereotypes and sportscaster credibility" (with Michael Mudrick and Carolyn Lin) to be published in Communication and Sport, and "Gender role expectations and the prevalence of women as assistant coaches” (with Rachel Madsen and Brianna Clark) to be published in the Journal for the Study of Sports and Athletes in Education.

TC Affiliated Scholar Elizabeth Daniels (University of Colorado, Colorado Springs) has a book chapter titled “Replacing sexy and skinny with strong and powerful: How feminist research on media depictions of women can effect change” in Feminist Perspectives on Building a Better Psychological Science of Gender published by Springer.

Kane’s invited chapter, “Why Studying Sport Matters: One Woman’s Perspective as a Sport Sociology Scholar,” will appear in Sociology of Sport: Ten Scholars, Ten Perspectives, part of the prestigious book series Critical Research in the Sociology of Sport published by Emerald Press, UK.

LaVoi, TC Affiliated Scholar Nancy Lough (UNLV) and Kane’s chapter, “Sociological Aspects of Sport Management,” will appear in Contemporary Sport Management (6th ed.) published by Human Kinetics.

LaVoi and Baeth have a chapter “Women in Coaching” in the forthcoming book Feminisms in Sport, published by Palgrave Macmillan.

Check out our 5th annual Women in College Coaching Report Card: Select FBS NCAA D-I Institutions, 2016-17. All report cards can be accessed online. See which institutions, sports and conferences got passing—or failing—grades!