It’s a common assumption that coaches must have played at a high level in order to be qualified. But whether it’s a prerequisite in women’s college basketball depends on gender and race.
Data from the study — which combined HBCU and Power 5 programs — shows that women were essentially required to have played post-high school in order to lead a team, unlike their male counterparts.
The male coaches who needed the least amount of competitive playing time on their resumes were white men.
- 92.4% of women’s basketball coaches played basketball after high school.
- Conversely, only 59.5% of male coaches played after high school.
- Almost 90% of Black female coaches played Division I hoops, and 80% of Black male coaches played D-I basketball. But only 23% of white male coaches did.
The study cited UConn coach Geno Auriemma as an example of this pattern, though he’s not currently a Power 5 or HBCU coach.
Auriemma didn’t play college basketball — but that didn’t keep him from rising through the ranks to become one of the winningest coaches of all time.
There is a sign of progress, however. The hiring numbers for both Black female and male coaches are on the rise, the study said. Even so, the barriers they’re facing are clear.