“I want to think sexism is too simple of an answer, but what is it if it’s not that?” said VanDerveer, the only woman beside Pat Summitt to have won 1,000 career games in Division I. “Anytime someone hires a male coach and says, ‘Coaching is coaching,’ well, why aren’t more women in men’s basketball?”
The most successful coach in women’s college basketball is Geno Auriemma of Connecticut, which has won 111 consecutive games and is seeking its fifth consecutive national title — and 12th over all. In the second semifinal of the N.C.A.A. tournament on Friday, UConn will face Mississippi State, also coached by a man, Vic Schaefer.
Earlier in his career, Auriemma said he felt some antipathy toward his success because he was a man, but no longer.
“I would like to think I’ve done too much for the growth of the game for people to resent the fact that I’m a man,” he said.
Several high-profile female coaches agreed, saying that they respect what Auriemma has achieved and that he hires women as his assistant coaches.
“Coaches don’t really specifically talk about Geno,” Staley said. “They probably more talk about dethroning him.”
On Thursday, Auriemma said fewer women wanted to coach because they had far more career opportunities beyond teaching, and basketball, than they did when Title IX was enacted.
“It’s quite simple,” he said.
But that characterization would be vigorously disputed by a number of female coaches.
“Basketball is not a gender,” Staley said.
She added: “I do think that women should be given the opportunity…