Nicole LaVoi, PhD

Senior Lecturer, Sport & Exercise Psychology & Sport Sociology
Contact Information


203D CookeH
1900 University Ave SE
Minneapolis, 55455


Graduate education faculty

Co-Director, Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport

Twitter: @DrSportPsych

My Blog-One Sport Voice :

Videos: Dr. LaVoi's Teaching Philosophy

Dr. LaVoi talks about the scarcity of female coaches.

Dr. LaVoi talks about The 2007 Tucker Center Research Report

Dr. LaVoi gives a Pecha Kucha on "Developing Physically Active Girls"
Dr. LaVoi provides practical tips on "How to Give a Good PreZENtation"

Read Dr. LaVoi's blog "One Sport Voice" a critical commentary on all things sport.


Nicole M. LaVoi, Ph.D. is a Senior Lecturer in the area of social and behavioral sciences in the School of Kinesiology at the University of Minnesota where she is also the Co-Director of the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport, and the co-founder of the Minnesota Youth Sport Research Consortium.  She received MA (’96) and doctoral degrees (’02) in Kinesiology with an emphasis in sport psychology/sociology from the University of Minnesota. After completing her graduate work, Dr. LaVoi was a Research & Program Associate in the Mendelson Center for Sport & Character at the University of Notre Dame (2002-‘05) where she helped launch the Play Like a Champion character education through sport series, and was also an instructor in the Psychology Department. LaVoi was an Assistant Professor of Physical Education and the Head Women’s Tennis Coach at Wellesley College (1994-’98), and the Assistant Women’s Tennis Coach at Carleton College (1991-’93).

Dr. LaVoi’s multidisciplinary research includes influences from sport & exercise psychology, sport sociology, sport management, youth development, child development, moral development, and feminist studies. LaVoi’s research has focused on the relational qualities of the coach-athlete relationship, the origins and effect of adult "background anger" behaviors (parents and coaches) on children and youth, the emotional experiences of youth sport parents, the physical activity of underserved girls, the barriers and supports experienced by female coaches, and media representations of girls and women in sport.

She strives to answer critical questions that can make a difference in the lives of coaches and youth athletes—particularly females. To that end, LaVoi was a contributing author of The 2007Tucker Center Research Report: Developing Physically Active Girlsdeveloped the Minnesota PLAYS™ (Parents Learning About Youth Sports), co-developed the Minnesota Youth Soccer Association Parents And Coaches Together (PACT™) program with colleagues at the Play Like a Champion educational program at the University of Notre Dame, and helped produce  the Emmy nominated “Concussion & Female Athletes: The Untold Story” and the Emmy-Winning "Media Coverage & Female Athletes" documentaries in conjunction with Twin Cities Public Television. She is also the author of the annual Women in College Coaching Report Card. As a public scholar she maintains a social media presence through LinkedIn,Twitter (@DrSportPsych), and a personal blog One Sport Voice.

Dr. LaVoi has published and presented on the many facets of her research and outreach in a variety of contexts across the country—most frequently delivering research-based educational workshops to coaches at all levels of competition and youth sport parents. Currently she serves on the National Advisory Boards for Gustavus Adolphus College Athletics, espnW, and the Alliance of Women Coaches which provides professional development and networking opportunities for female coaches, and is part of the teaching faculty for the NCAA Women Coaches Academy. 

LaVoi played four years of intercollegiate tennis at Gustavus Adolphus College where her team placed 4th (’89), 2nd (’91) and won the NCAA-III National Championships in 1990. She is a two-time NCAA Academic All-American. 

She has authored and collaborated on numerous research reports, scholarly journal articles, and book chapters, many of which which are listed below.

Professional experience
  • University of Notre Dame. Notre Dame, IN., director of sports programming, Center for Ethical Education and The Mendelson Center for Sports, Character & Community. 2002-2005.
  • Wellesley College, Assistant Professor of physical education & head women’s tennis coach, Department of Physical Education, Recreation and Athletics. Wellesley, MA. 1994-1998.
  • Carleton College, assistant women’s tennis coach. Northfield, MN. 1992-1993.


Professional memberships


  • B.A., Gustavus Adolphus College, 1991. Majors: health fitness and communications
  • M.A., kinesiology, University of Minnesota, 1995. Emphasis: sport psychology
  • Ph.D., kinesiology, University of Minnesota, 2002. Emphasis: sport psychology, sport sociology
Curriculum Vitae [PDF]
Selected Publications
  1. LaVoi, N.M. (Ed.) (2016). Women in Sports Coaching. London: Routledge. Anticipated publication for March 2016.

  2. Janet S. Fink, Nicole M. LaVoi & Kristine E. Newhall (2015). Challenging the gender binary? Male basketball practice players views of female athletes and women’s sports, Sport in Society. DOI:10.1080/17430437.2015.1096252

  3. LaVoi, N. M. (2015, February). Head coaches of women’s collegiate teams: A report on select NCAA Division-I FBS institutions, 2014-15. Minneapolis: Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport. [accompanying INFOGRAPHIC]

  4. Butryn, T., LaVoi, N. M., Kauer, K., Semerjian, T., & Waldron, J. (2014). We Walk the Line: An Analysis of the Problems and Possibilities of Work at the Sport Psychology-Sport Sociology Nexus, Sociology of Sport Journal, 31, 162 – 184.

  5. Fink, J., Kane, M.J. & LaVoi, N.M. (2014). The Freedom to Choose: Elite Female Athletes’ Preferred Representations within Endorsement Opportunities.  Journal of Sport Management, 28, 207-219.

  6. LaVoi, N. M. (2014, January). Head coaches of women’s collegiate teams: A report on select NCAA Division-I FBS institutions, 2013-14. Minneapolis: Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport.

  7. LaVoi, N. M. (2014, January). The status of women in collegiate coaching: A report card, 2013-14 [Infographic]. Minneapolis: Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport.

  8. LaVoi, N.M. & Calhoun, A.S. (2014). Digital Media and Female Athletes. In A. Billings and M. Hardin (Eds.) Handbook of Sport and New Media (pp. 320-330). New York, NY: Routledge.

  9. Kane, M.J., LaVoi, N.M., & Fink, J. (2013). Exploring Elite Female Athletes' Interpretations of Sport media Photographs: A Window into the Construction of Social Identity and "Selling Sex" in Women's Sports. Communications and Sport. doi: 10.11772167479512473585

  10. LaVoi, N.M. & Dutove, J. K. (2012). Barriers and supports for female coaches: An ecological model. Sports Coaching Review, 1(1), 17-37. doi: 10.1080/21640629.2012.695891

  11. Daniels, E., & LaVoi, N.M. (in press). Athletics as Solution and Problem:  Sports Participation for Girls and the Sexualization of Female Athletes. In T.A. Roberts and E.L. Zubriggen (Eds.) The Sexualization of Girls and Girlhood. New York: Oxford University Press.

  12. Hardin, M., & LaVoi, N.M. (in press). Inappropriate Behavior and Lesbianism: The Contrasting Falls of Two Women’s College Basketball Coaches. In L, Wenner (Ed.) Fallen Sports Heroes, Media, and Celebrity Culture.

  13. LaVoi, N.M. (2012). Trends in gender-related research in sport and exercise psychology. Revista Iberoamericana de Psicología del Ejercicio y el Deporte (Ibero-American Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology).

  14. Cooky, C. & LaVoi, N.M. (2012). Playing but losing: Women's sports after Title IX. Contexts, 11, 42-45. doi: 10.1177/1536504212436495

  15. Omli, J., & LaVoi, N.M. (2012). The Emotional Experiences of Youth Sport Parents I: Anger. Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 24 (1), 10-25. doi: 10.1080/10413200.2011.578102

  16. Thul, C.M. & LaVoi, N.M. (2011). Reducing physical inactivity and promoting active living: from the voices of East African immigrant adolescent girls. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 3(2), 210-237.

  17. Minano, Camacho M., LaVoi, N.M, & Barr-Anderson, D. (2011). Interventions to promote physical activity among adolescent girls: A systematic review. Health Education Research. doi: 10.1093/her/cyr040

  18. Nelson, T.F., Stovitz S., Thomas M.,LaVoi N. M., Bauer K., Neumark-Sztainer D. (2011). Do youth sports prevent pediatric obesity? A systematic review and commentary. Current Sports Medicine Reports,10(6), 360-370.

  19. Calhoun, A.S., LaVoi, N.M., & Johnson, A. (2011 ). Framing with Family: Examining Online Coaching  Biographies for Heteronormative and Heterosexist Narratives. International Journal of Sport Communication, 4(3), 300-316.

  20. Leberman, S., & LaVoi, N.M. (2011). Juggling balls and roles, mother-coaches in youth sport:Beyond the dualistic mother-worker identity. Journal of Sport Management, 25, 474-488.

  21. LaVoi, N.M., & Norris, A.L. (January, 2011). Youth Sport Report: Parent Perception of How Frequently Youth Sport Interferes With Family Time. Click here to download report.

  22. LaVoi, N.M., & Kane, M.J. (2011). Sport Sociology for Sport Management. In P. Pedersen, L. Thibault, & J. Quarterman (Eds.), Contemporary Sport Management (4th ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

  23. Omli, J., & LaVoi, N.M. (2009). The perfect storm: Background anger in youth sports. Journal of Sport Behavior, 32(2), 242-260.