Nicole M. LaVoi, PhD

Senior Lecturer, social and behavioral sciences of physical activity
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

Connect with Dr. LaVoi on LinkedIN

Read Dr. LaVoi's blog, One Sport Voice

Dr. LaVoi's Teaching Philosophy

Dr. LaVoi talks about the scarcity of female coaches.

Dr. LaVoi's Tucker Center Distinguished Lecture: Paradox, Pitfalls & Parity: Where Have all the Women Coaches Gone? (Fall, 2016)

Dr. LaVoi provides practical tips on "How to Give a Good PreZENtation"



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. 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), and has a new documentary with tptMN coming out in November 2018 titled Game ON: Women Can Coach. As a public scholar she speaks frequently to sport stakeholders around the globe and serves on national advisory boards for the Sports Advocacy Netowrk of the Women’s Sport Foundation, espnW and WeCOACH (formerly 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 focuses her research on the relational qualities of the coach-athlete relationship, 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. LaVoi, N. M., & Wasend, M .K. (2018, July). Athletic administration best practices of recruitment, hiring and retention of female collegiate coaches. Minneapolis, MN: Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport. To read the full report, click here.

  2. LaVoi, N. M., & Silva-Breen, H. (2018, July). Head coaches of women’s collegiate teams: A comprehensive report on NCAA Division-I institutions, 2017-18. Minneapolis: Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport.

  3. LaVoi, N. M., Wasend, M., & Baeth, A. (in press). The gender divide in current day sports coaching. In R. Thewell & M. Dicks (Eds.), Professional Advances in Sports Coaching: Research and Practice. London, UK: Routledge.

  4. LaVoi, N., Baeth, A., & Calhoun, A. S. (in press). Sociological perspectives of women in sport. In N. Lough & A. Guerin (Eds.), Handbook on the Business of Women's Sport. London, UK: Routledge.

  5. Kane, M. J., & LaVoi, N. M. (2018). An examination of athletic administrators' perceptions regarding the absence of female head coaches in women's intercollegiate sports. Women in Sport and Physical Activity.

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

  7. LaVoi, N.M. (Ed.) (2016). Women in Sports Coaching. London: Routledge.

  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. 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

Selected Presentations
  1. Dr. LaVoi speaks to variety of sport stakeholders each year regionally, nationally and internationally. In 2018 here is a sample of those groups, NCAA Women Coaches Academy, Women Coaches Symposium, Old Dominion Athletic Conference Women in Athletics Symposium, USA Swimming Women in Leadership Summit, NCAA Inclusion Forum, Social Justice through Sport & Exercise Psychology Conference, Gustavus Women in Leadership Conference, Wisconsin Track Coaches Association women4women, Japanese Women Coaches Academy, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club and the NCAA Convention.