Nicole M. LaVoi, PhD

Senior Lecturer, social and behavioral sciences pf physical activity
Contact Information


203D CookeH
1900 University Ave SE
Minneapolis, 55455


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).

Through her multidisciplinary research she answers critical questions that can make a difference in the lives of sport stakeholders—particularly girls and women. As a leading scholar on women coaches LaVoi has published numerous book chapters, research reports and peer reviewed articles across multiple disciplines. Her seminal research includes the annual Women in College Coaching Report Card which is aimed at retaining and increasing the number of women in the coaching profession, and a groundbreaking book Women in Sports Coaching (2016). She also collaborates with colleagues on media representations of females in sport, including co-producing an Emmy-winning best sports documentary titled Media Coverage & Female Athletes: Women Play Sports, Just Not in the Media (2013). As a public scholar she speaks frequently to sport stakeholders around the globe and serves on national advisory boards for the Women’s Sport Foundation, espnW and the Alliance of Women Coaches. She is also the founder and director of the annual Women Coaches Symposium held on the U of MN campus which serves over 350+ women coaches of all sport and all levels. LaVoi’s focuses her research 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.

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.

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. Kane, M. J., & LaVoi, N. M. (in press). An examination of athletic administrators' perceptions regarding the absence of female head coaches in women's intercollegiate sports. Women in Sport and Physical Activity.

  2. Hamilton, M. G., & LaVoi, N. M. (2017). Coaches Who Care: The Ethical Professional Identity Development of Moral Exemplar Collegiate Coaches. Journal of Moral Education. .

  3. Caple, N., Lapchick, R., & LaVoi, N. M. (2017, June). Gender, race & LGBT inclusion of head coaches of women’s teams: A report on select NCAA Division I conferences for the 45th anniversary of Title IX. Minneapolis: Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport.

  4. LaVoi, N.M. (Ed.) (2016). Women in Sports Coaching. London: Routledge. Anticipated publication for March 2016.

  5. LaVoi, N. M. (2016, January). Head Coaches of Women's Collegiate Teams: A Report on Select NCAA Division-I Institutions, 2015-2016. Minneapolis: Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport.

  6. 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

  7. 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]

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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).

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

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  21. 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

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

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