Critical Attrition Zone Identified for Female Assistant Sport Coaches

The Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport at the University of Minnesota released its annual Women in College Coaching Report Card (WCCRC) in collaboration with WeCOACH. The report documents the percentage of women in all coaching positions for women’s teams at NCAA Division-I institutions.

2019-20 Cover, Tatiana Booth, assistant women’s volleyball coach, Tennessee State University.

Key Findings:

  • The percentage of D-I women Head Coaches went up and is now at 42.3% (up from 42.1% in 2018-19)—the data is trending in the right direction! but is remarkably stagnant.
  • LEADERS for Percentage of Women Head Coaches of Women Teams
    • Institutional leader: Tennessee State (85.7%)
    • Conference leader: Ivy League (52.4%)
    • Sport leader: Wrestling (100%), NCAA emerging sport
  • The majority (52.7%) of the 442 head coach hires were men. 
  • As the coaching position became more visible, lucrative and powerful, fewer women occupied the position. (i.e., from Graduate Assistant to Head Coach to Director of Sport)
  • Starting at the Assistant Coach position, men are statistically and significantly older than women and are more likely to have children. 
  • Based on the data, we identified that the Assistant Coach is a critical zone of attrition in the career pipeline for women, possibly due in part to parental status. This report identifies leaks in the pipeline and opportunities for policy, support and programming.
  • Very few coaches at any position (42 of 10,697) are openly gay within their online biographies, indicating that homophobia is prevalent within college athletics.
  • The culture of college sport privileges heterosexual men with children. Coaching, like many occupations, is gendered. Much work remains to ensure all women, regardless of identity, feel safe, valued and supported.

To read the full WCCRC and to see which institutions, sports and conferences receive passing and failing grades, and read more about factors that contribute to the leaky pipeline visit TuckerCenter.org

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