DALLAS – Fewer women are coaching women’s basketball now than a decade ago, and the coaches who have led their teams the Final Four of the NCAA tournament in Dallas have very different theories as to why.
According to the NCAA’s race and gender database, 56% of Division I women’s teams were coached by a woman in 2015-2016, the most recent season data was available. That’s down from 63% in 2007-2008.
“There’s a reason why there’s not as many opportunities for women. Not as many women want to coach,” Connecticut’s Geno Auriemma said Thursday. “It’s quite simple.”
Auriemma went on to deliver what perhaps he thought was a feminist diatribe, about how many more career opportunities are available to women outside of coaching than when he became Huskies coach in 1985. He said he thinks more women are choosing to have a “normal life” rather than moving into a job teaching physical education and coaching after college.
The two female coaches here in Dallas had other ideas – and it’s not for a lack of interest.
“Women aren’t recycled the way that men are,” Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer said.
VanDerveer proceeded to tell the story of how she upset she was last year when her Stanford men’s counterpart Johnny Dawkins was fired. Dawkins wound up consoling VanDerveer when she broke down in tears in his office.
“I told my friend about it. My friend said, ‘Don’t worry, he’ll get a job in a week,’” VanDerveer said. “That does not happen with women coaches.”
Indeed, Dawkins landed his next job, as the coach at Central Florida, eight days later.
When Melanie Balcomb was fired last year after 14 seasons at Vanderbilt, another head coaching job didn’t quickly materialize. After three months out of work, she accepted as job as an offensive analytics consultant on Dawn…