Bargaining with patriarchy : former women coaches' experiences and their decision to leave collegiate coaching

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Cindra S Kamphoff, PhD (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Diane Gill

Abstract: "The purpose of the study was to better understand the experiences of former female coaches and their decision to terminate their careers, especially in relation to the patriarchal nature of U.S. collegiate sport. A feminist perspective and mixed-methods design were used to allow for an in-depth and rich understanding of women coaches' experiences. The survey sample included 121 former women coaches who left collegiate athletics in the last ten years. The survey findings suggest that time and family commitments are the main reasons these women left coaching. The open-end comments, however, provided a more complex picture of why women may leave U.S. collegiate coaching. About 18% of the participants in this sample left coaching for positive reasons such as an opportunity for a promotion or to pursue further education. However, the majority of the reasons the participants provided on the open-end responses were negative, including a lack of support by administration, burnout, difficulty balancing life with coaching, and recruiting. The patriarchal nature of collegiate athletics was apparent in the numerous open-end responses that provided reports of perceived gender discrimination and homophobia. Six women from the survey sample were individually interviewed once on the phone. Using a descriptive analytic strategy and the process of indexing, three general themes emerged: 1) Gender disparities in women's work, 2) Technical demands of coaching, and 3) College coaching and normalized sexualities. Overall, the interview findings confirmed the open-end responses on the survey and described gender discrimination and the centrality of male coaches in collegiate athletics. The participants reported receiving fewer resources, lower salaries, more responsibilities, and less administrative support than their male counterparts. The participants in this study had difficulty balancing work and family, and reported that others saw them "distracted by motherhood" if they had children. The technical demands of coaching (including recruiting, the time commitment, pressure to win, dealing with parents and athletes, and coaching women) proved to be a stressor for these women and led some of them to leave coaching. Furthermore, the participants provided examples of rampant homophobia in U.S. collegiate coaching. Collectively, the survey and interview results reveal that there is not one reason that these coaches have left the profession. In fact, participants provided multiple, complex, and overlapping reasons for leaving U.S. collegiate coaching."--Abstract from author supplied metadata.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2006
female, coaches, careers, collegiate, United States, feminist
Women coaches (Athletics)--Job satisfaction
College sports--United States
Sex discrimination in sports

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