Sports

Black female athletes stress importance of Black female coaches

South Carolina senior guard Blair Beale knew he could trust Dawn Staley even before he moved to the Gamecocks.

It wasn’t just Staley’s coaching accolades, including spurring a meteoric rise in women’s basketball in South Carolina, that sold beer. Biel knew Staley, a Black woman like her, best understood how to navigate both her life and basketball on the big stage.

“The people who’ve told me what this community is about know it’s where I wanted to be,” Biel said. You took me on a journey so that I could find out who I am.”

There is a small percentage of black women in coaching and sports management positions. Even sports like basketball, along with track and field, have the highest concentrations of black female college athletes, and black female athletes who have been coached by black women are critically important to their development. There is, she told the Associated Press.

“Some coaches just accept all men without understanding that sometimes a young woman needs to talk to another woman,” says Kiki, a former basketball player and jumper for New Orleans and now the Gulf Coast. Barnes said, Athletic Conference Commissioner.

While the number of women coaching women’s sports has increased over the past decade, black women continue to lag behind most other groups. In the 2021-22 school year, 399 Black women will join 399 Black women compared to 3,760 White women and 5,236 White men compared to 3,760 White women and 5,236 White men. Women have coached NCAA women’s sports teams in Divisions I, II, and III.

In women’s NCAA basketball (a sport made up of 30% black athletes), black women made up 12% of head coaches across all divisions during the 2021-22 season, according to the NCAA demographic database.

Using data from the 2020-21 season, 14 Black women led women’s basketball teams in 65 Power Five programs, one more than in 2021, according to the report.

For the first time in 10 years, four black coaches advanced to the Sweet 16 of the women’s basketball tournament.

“And I’m not saying I’m going to sit here and have a men’s bash because we have a lot of male coaches who’ve been in our game for decades. said Staley, who will lead her team to the Final Four… this weekend. “But by giving women the opportunity to coach women and helping them live their lives the way they’ve lived their lives, student-athletes can have a different experience than having a male coach.

For years, Staley has advocated hiring more female coaches, especially minorities, in college basketball, but WNBA player Angel McCourtrey says no black female coaches as successful in the sport as Staley are. He said it was still too little.

McCourtrey, who played for Louisville from 2005 to 2009, said, “I don’t remember having the respectable Dawn Staley when I was hired in high school.

McCourtrey also cited Carolyn Peck, the first African-American woman to lead a team to an NCAA women’s basketball title at Purdue in 1999, as another prime example in the sport.

“So you have one or two every decade,” says McCoughtry. “Why can’t we have 10? We have 10 white coaches every 10 years.”

McCotry, the #1 overall pick for the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream, was used to being around people who didn’t look like her or didn’t understand her. Her AAU and high school coaches were black men. Her college coach was a white man. Marinell Meaders, a white woman, was her first coach in Atlanta.

She’s answered tantalizing questions from her white peers, coaches and owners about how often she washes her hair and whether her passionate play is because she’s from Baltimore.

“There’s just a disconnect in figuring things out,” said the 36-year-old, adding, “We need more coaches to protect us.”

McCourtrey never had a black female head coach, but was influenced by the influence of black female Michelle Clark Hurd, who Jeff Waltz brought in as an assistant when he took over in Louisville in 2008. I received some guidance.

She also said she backed her up in freshman year when then-coach Tom Collin wanted to send her back to Baltimore because she was late for one of her first practices. I turned to my black assistant coach, Tim Eaton. Similarly, McCourtrey said she felt she had less room to make mistakes than her white teammates, and when she questioned her coach she was labeled a troublemaker. . She was said to have a bad attitude when she got excited about her play.

“We weren’t human at all, like our white counterparts,” she said, adding:

According to Barnes, part of the reason for the shortage of black female coaches is who ultimately has the authority to hire them. It’s often the sports director, a level that lacks even more diversity. 224 of her 350 in Division I are white men. Additionally, there are changing requirements as to what it takes to get leadership opportunities, she added.

“And now the system has turned into a place where search companies need to know, because now search companies control and decide who gets these opportunities,” she said. “It’s like the rules change every time you figure out how to enter a room and what you need to prepare.”

Burns played high school basketball in his hometown of Minden, Louisiana. There was a black female assistant coach there. Burns still calls her “Coach Smith”.

“For her, it wasn’t just about basketball. It was about who I was as a young woman,” Burns recalled, adding, It’s not that men can’t do it, but I would be reluctant to talk about women with my father or other men.”

2016 Olympic high jumper Priscilla Loomis, who is black, said she became a coach to provide kids who looked like her with the expression the sport lacked. NCAA track and field numbers reflect women’s basketball numbers for 2021-22. 5% of the head coach is a black woman, and 19% of her female NCAA track-and-field athletes are black.

“They want to feel seen, they want to feel loved, they want to be mentored,” Loomis said. I always say it’s important to be on the line, because a lot of the time we’re so far behind.”


AP Sports Writer Pete Iacovelli and AP Basketball Writer Doug Feinberg contributed to this report.

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