University of Minnesota

2018 Spring eTCN

As I write this column in late March, it's sunny outside, (relatively) warm, but the snow—with predictions of more to come—continues to hang around. Welcome to spring in Minnesota! A key part of the Tucker Center’s mission is to link our scholarly efforts to issues that have a direct impact on the lives of girls and women participating in all manner of sports and physical activity. Toward that end, we are engaged in a number of ongoing initiatives, ranging from our various research studies, to our collaborations with local and national organizations committed to public service. For example, under the guidance of Co-Director Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi—and in partnership with the Alliance of Women Coaches—the Tucker Center released the 2018 Women in College Coaching Report Card. This groundbreaking longitudinal study examines the decline of women in head coaching positions at the Division I level almost two generations removed from the passage of Title IX. As you will learn in more detail below, one key finding is that even though the percentage of female head coaches of women’s teams increased for the 5th year in a row, they still represent only 42% of all head coaches nationwide.

So how do we deal with such troubling findings? The Tucker Center provides an important answer—not to mention national leadership—through another key part of our mission: educational outreach in the service of public engagement. On April 20th, we are hosting the 5th annual Women Coaches Symposium in partnership with the U of M’s Department of Athletics. The symposium will bring together more than 300 coaches from around the Twin Cities and beyond. The purpose of the symposium is to create a forum for networking and community building among women who are—or hope to be—members of the coaching profession. This year’s Jean K. Freeman Keynote Speaker is Susan Teeter, head coach of the women’s swim team at Princeton. Among her many accomplishments, including 17 Ivy League titles, Teeter received the prestigious College Swim Coaches Association Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011. More details about the symposium, including how to register, are highlighted in a story below.

Finally, one measure of the impact and scope of our efforts is the interest we receive from academics around the globe. This spring we are hosting a Visiting Scholar, Guylaine Demers, newly appointed Women’s Studies Research Chair at Laval University in Quebec. Professor Demers’ scholarly interests include coaching education and homophobia in sports. In 2015, she was recognized as one of the most influential women in sports by the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women & Sport. Read more about Dr. Demers below.

To keep current on all of the work we do on behalf of girls and women, their families, and communities, check our website regularly and follow us via our various social media platforms. Happy Spring to all and may the snow soon give way to chirping birds and the glorious colors of a new season!

We released our annual Women in College Coaching Report Card in February. Produced in collaboration with the Alliance of Women Coaches, the report documents the percentage of women in head coaching positions at institutions in seven select NCAA Division-I conferences (AAC, ACC, Big East, B1G Ten, Big 12, PAC-12, SEC) for 2017-18.

Key Findings:

  • The percentage of women head coaches of women’s teams went up for the 5th year in a row and is now at 41.5% (up from 41.1% in 2016-17). Although this gain is not large, the data is trending in the right direction!
  • In 60% of vacant head coach positions, a male was hired, and in 14% of the open positions a female head coach was replaced by a new male head coach.
  • Cincinnati and University of Central Florida were the only institutions to be awarded an A grade.
  • Nine institutions earned F grades.
  • None of the select 7 NCAA D-I conferences received above a C grade.
  • Based on data from our other reports, NCAA D-III institutions have the highest percentage of women head coaches at 45.7%.

To read the full report, download the infographic, discover how the report is making a difference, learn about interesting trends (including insight into which of the 86 select “big time” NCAA Division-I institutions, sports and conferences receive passing and failing grades, and see our NCAA D-III and D-II Report Cards, visit our website here. Look for our comprehensive report card of all NCAA D-I institutions later this spring.

On Friday, April 20, the Tucker Center (TC) will host the 5th annual Women Coaches Symposium (WCS) at the TCF Bank Stadium on the U of M campus. The event will bring together more than 300 coaches of all levels from the Twin Cities and beyond for a day of networking and high-quality educational programming.

This year’s Jean K. Freeman Keynote Speaker is Susan Teeter, one of the most decorated swim coaches in the country. Over 33 years as head women’s swim coach at Princeton, Teeter tallied over 220 team victories, guided her program to over 17 Ivy League titles, and mentored 22 All-Americans. Her legacy earned her an American Swimming Coaches Award of Excellence for four straight years, from 2006 through 2009; in 2011 she was awarded the prestigious College Swim Coaches Association "Lifetime Achievement Award." Most recently, Teeter was elected President of the College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association by her colleagues. She was also named USA Aquatics Sports’ Most Outstanding Woman for 2015.

The symposium will also feature breakout sessions on: the art of negotiation (with Lori Kerans, Julie Manning, and M. Dianne Murphy, Ph.D.), mindful coaching (with Missy Price, Ph.D.), level-specific “tough issues,” athlete confidence (with Cindra Kamphoff, Ph.D., CMPC), and experiential learning (with Molly Grisham). In the afternoon, Tucker Center Co-Director Dr. Nicole M. LaVoi will share strategies for changing the narrative around women in the coaching profession.

The purpose of the WCS is to provide high quality educational programming, build community among female coaches, and recruit, retain and support women in the coaching profession. The WCS is a partnership between the Tucker Center, the Alliance of Women Coaches, and Gopher Athletics. This year’s event is also supported by many community partners. To read more about the event or to purchase a ticket, please visit our new WCS website.

This February, in conjunction with National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD), the Tucker Center and UMN Athletics hosted the annual Tucker Center Film Festival (TCFF). The Festival marked the 8th anniversary of this event, in celebration of films that feature women’s sport and female athletes. This year our first blockbuster film, Battle of the Sexes, was featured.

The film dramatizes the story of the 1973 tennis match between women’s world champion Billie Jean King and ex-men’s champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs. In the wake of the sexual revolution and the rise of the women’s movement, the match was billed as the BATTLE OF THE SEXES and became one of the most watched televised sports events of all time, reaching 90 million viewers around the world. As the rivalry between King and Riggs kicked into high gear, each was fighting more personal and complex battles off-court. Together, Billie and Bobby served up a cultural spectacle that resonated far beyond the tennis court, sparking discussions in bedrooms and boardrooms that continue to reverberate today.

The generosity of Gopher Athletics, who co-sponsored this event, and the Women’s Sports Foundation, who provided the feature film, made it possible to show the film for free to over 100 viewers. If you have ideas for the 9th anniversary of the TCFF in 2019, please send them our way!

Matea Wasend joined the Tucker Team as a Kinesiology M.S. student in 2016. She attended Macalester College in St. Paul, MN, where she majored in English and minored in Media Studies while competing for the women’s soccer team. After graduating in 2012, she worked primarily in nonprofit communications, including serving as the communications and development manager for Fred Wells Tennis & Education Center in the Twin Cities, and the development director for the Foundation for Cancer Care in Tanzania.

Matea began her coaching soccer as a sophomore in college. She has coached at the youth, high school and college levels, and currently coaches with St. Paul Blackhawks Soccer Club and Cretin-Derham Hall High School. Her passion for working with young female athletes eventually led her to the Tucker Center as an intern and then a research assistant. Over the last two years, Matea has had the opportunity to contribute to meaningful research aimed at bettering the landscape for women in sport coaching, such as the Tucker Center’s annual report on the underrepresentation of women in college coaching, and a recent study on “best practices” for recruiting, hiring, and retaining collegiate women coaches. She also had the privilege of meeting and delivering the introduction for one of her coaching idols, head coach of the national women’s soccer team, Jill Ellis, at the 2017 Women Coaches Symposium.

For her master’s thesis, Matea is examining the factors that may affect female collegiate student athletes’ likelihood to become coaches. She plans to pursue additional research in this area while pursuing her doctorate under the continued mentorship of Nicole LaVoi, Ph.D., and Mary Jo Kane, Ph.D., starting in the fall of 2018.

A native of Denver, CO, Matea is an avid runner, downhill skier and backpacker.

Honors & Awards

Women in Sport Aoteraoa (WISPA), which was co-founded by Sarah Leberman, Ph.D., TC Affiliated Scholar and TC Visiting Senior Fulbright Scholar (2007), launched on March 8, 2017. WISPA is part of the successful New Zealand bid to host the International working Group on Women in Sport 2018-2022, culminating in the IWG Women in Sport Conference in May, 2020 in Auckland, New Zealand.

Scholarly Presentations

On April 16th, Tucker Center Director Mary Jo Kane, Ph.D., will participate in a panel discussion on “Racial Progress & Gender Equity in Sports,” sponsored by the Hubert H. Humphrey Center on Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. The panel will respond to a presentation by Professor Richard Lapchick, Director of The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida. To learn more about the event, visit the TC website.

TC Co-Director Nicole M. LaVoi, Ph.D., continues to be a leading voice for and about women sport coaches. Throughout late fall and spring 2018, LaVoi gave multiple presentations pertaining to women sport coaches at the following institutions and organizations around the world: Japanese Women Coaches Academy, College Swimming & Diving Coaches Association Women’s Forum, Wellesley College Athletics, Old Dominion Athletics Conference Women in Athletics Symposium, USA Swimming Women Coaches Summit, and the NCAA Women Coaches Academy Classes 43, 44 and 45. You can read her multipart blog series, Changing the Narrative About Women Sport Coaches, at One Sport Voice. If you missed Dr. LaVoi’s Fall 2016 TC Distinguished Lecture, "Paradox, Pitfalls, & Parity: Where have all the women coaches gone?“ you can view it online.

LaVoi will present, “Changing the Narrative about and for Women Coaches” at the 2018 NCAA Inclusion Forum, April 14-16 in Indianapolis, IN.

Student members of the Tucker Team (Anna Baeth, Courtney Boucher, Veronica Rasmussen, Mikinzee Salo & Nicole Varichak) will present a body of work, “Creating Social Change for Girls & Women in Sport: Education, Research and Outreach,” at the 3rd annual Social Justice Through Sport and Exercise Psychology Conference, April 6-7, at the University of Minnesota. TC Affiliated Scholars Jo Ann Buysse, Ph.D., Lisa Kihl, Ph.D., and Diane Wiese-Bjornstal, Ph.D., will also present on para-athletes, social responsibility in sport, and religiosity and spirituality in coping with sport injuries, respectively, and Doug Hartmann, Ph.D., will be the keynote speaker. His keynote is titled “Social Justice and Racial Inequalities In and Through Sport: New Directions.”

TC Affiliated Scholar Elizabeth Daniels, Ph.D., will present a paper, “What’s the Big Deal?: Examining Impacts of Sexualized Athletes on State Self-Objectification and Attitudes toward Female Athletes” in April at the Biennial Society for Research on Adolescence Meeting, Minneapolis, MN.


TC Affiliated Scholar Laura Burton,Ph.D., (University of Connecticut, Educational Leadership) has a new publication in the Journal of Intercollegiate Sport (with Meg Hancock, Janelle Wells & Heidi Grappendorf) titled, “Career satisfaction and breakthrough of women in intercollegiate athletic administration: What is the role of mentoring?”

Daniels published a paper titled, “Sexy vs. sporty: The effects of viewing sexualized images of athletes on self-objectification in men and women” in Sex Roles, and is co-editor of a new book, “Body positive: Understanding and improving body image in science and practice,” now in press by Cambridge University Press.

TC Affiliated Scholar Kent Kaiser, Ph.D., (University of Northwestern, Communication), had an article, "Women’s and men’s prominence in sports coverage and changes in large-, medium-, and small-city newspapers, pre- and post-Title IX: A local play for equality?" published in Communication and Sport.

The TC is excited to host Visiting Scholar Guylaine Demers, Ph.D., a professor at Laval University in Canada, this spring. She takes particular interest in issues of women in sport, coach education, and homophobia in sport. She currently serves as chair of Egale-Action, Quebec’s Association for the Advancement of Women in Sport and Physical Activity. Her work and achievements have been recognized both province-wide and nationally. Dr. Demers made the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women and Sport list of Most Influential Women in Sport in Canada in 2007, 2010, and 2015. In 2013, she contributed to the book Playing it Forward: 50 Years of Women in Sport in Canada, which she edited with Dr. Sandra Kirby, Marion Lay, and Lorraine Greaves. One of her key achievements was the organization of Conversation 2015, a symposium held in Quebec City, dedicated to fostering solutions to bettering the experiences of girls and women in the Canadian sport system. She is the newly appointed Women’s Studies research chair at Laval University. Welcome, Dr. Demers!

The Tucker Center is excited to host the third annual Social Justice through Sport and Exercise Psychology (SJSEP) Symposium, April 6-7 at the University of Minnesota. The aim of the symposium is to bring together sport and exercise psychology researchers and practitioners whose work focuses on social justice and praxis, marginalized communities, participants lacking scholarly attention, or that falls outside the positivist mainstream of sport psychology. A main purpose of the symposium is to bring together people passionate about these issues so that we can share our work as well as support and encourage each other. The symposium structure encourages interaction and dialogue to discuss professional issues as well as research and practice. Submissions from scholars and practitioners from related disciplines are welcome.

The symposium will feature a keynote address from Tucker Center Affiliated Scholar, Doug Hartmann, Ph.D. Dr. Hartmann is professor and chair of the Department of Sociology at the University of Minnesota. He is the author of Midnight Basketball: Race, Sports, and Neoliberal Social Policy (University of Chicago Press, 2016).

The symposium will include presentations, roundtables, and discussions on a range of topics from scholars across the globe. To register and learn more, visit our website.