University of Minnesota

Distinguished Lecture Series

The Borghild-Strand Distinguished Lecture series is given twice yearly and exemplifies the Tucker Center’s commitment to community outreach and public education by making links to the Twin Cities metro and outstate areas. It provides a venue for the most influential individuals in women’s sports to share their knowledge and expertise. The Spring lecture is also sponsored through the Edith Mueller Park and Recreation Memorial Award.


2018 Fall Distinguished Lecture

Why Women Leaders Matter: Challenges & Opportunities for Female Head Coaches in Collegiate Sports

Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Cowles Auditorium, Hubert H. Humphrey Center
University of Minnesota West Bank Campus



About the Lecture

Scholars and advocates of women’s sports have documented a troubling and unintended consequence of Title IX. In sharp contrast to the unprecedented gains in participation rates, the number of women occupying key leadership positions—particularly as head coach—has dramatically declined over the last four decades. At the intercollegiate level alone, the percentage of female head coaches has gone from over 90% in the early 1970s to 43% currently. Traditional beliefs and stereotypes about women’s leadership capacities in sports remain firmly entrenched in one of the most powerful institutions in our nation.

Research indicates that having women as coaches matters. Young women need strong and confident same-sex role models who enhance their own self-esteem, and make it more likely they will go into the coaching profession. The U of M has a proud history of employing women in leadership roles. What can we learn from recent hires in the women’s basketball program, and are there specific strategies we can employ to reverse the current underrepresentation of female coaches? This panel addressed these and other critical questions as we explored the challenges and opportunities associated with being a female coach in Division I college athletics.


About the Panelists

portrait of Lindsay WhalenLindsay Whalen is the new head women’s basketball coach at her alma mater. A native of Hutchinson, MN, Whalen was an All-Big Ten selection and Academic All-Big Ten honoree during her playing career at the U of M. She led the Gophers to their only Final Four in the program’s history. Whalen retired from the WNBA in 2018 with one of the most successful careers in league history: She is the all-time leading winner with over 300 victories during a 15-year career. As a Minnesota Lynx, Whalen won four WNBA championships and was named All-WNBA five times. She also captured two Summer Olympic Gold Medals as a member of the U.S. women’s basketball team.


portrait of Kelly RoyslandKelly Roysland, a native of Fosston, MN, was a Gopher four-year letter winner and member of the 2004 Final Four run. A highly gifted athlete, Roysland was also on the U of M’s volleyball team in 2007. After her playing career, she was an assistant coach at Minnesota from 2010-14, and was recently hired at the U of M where she will be a key member of Whalen’s staff. Roysland was head women’s basketball coach at Macalester College for the past four seasons. In 2016-17, her team recorded its highest win total at the school in five years. Roysland received her Master’s degree in Exercise Science from the School of Kinesiology.


portrait of Danielle O'BanionDanielle O'Banion was a standout student-athlete for the Boston College women’s basketball program where she earned BIG EAST Academic All-Star recognition. O’Banion became assistant coach at Harvard, guiding the Crimson to a 22-6 record, an Ivy League title and an NCAA Tournament appearance. She was on the Gopher’s coaching staff during their historic season ending in a Final 4 appearance. O’Banion returns to Minnesota as an assistant coach heading into the new season. Prior to her return, she was associate head coach at Memphis and spent four seasons as Kent State’s head coach. In 2016, O’Banion received the Pat Summitt Most Courageous Award from the U.S. Basketball Writers Association for her fight against cancer.


portrait of Joel MaturiJoel Maturi served as the U of M’s athletic director from 2002-12. Prior to his position at Minnesota, Maturi was the AD at the University of Denver and Miami University. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, Maturi was associate AD at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His coaching and administrative career culminated in his induction into the Wisconsin Basketball Hall of Fame. At the U of M, Maturi was instrumental in securing funding for the new on-campus football stadium. He retired as Gopher AD in 2012 and currently serves as a member of the NCAA Infractions Committee.


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Previous lectures

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