Date of Award

Spring 5-2020

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Elizabeth Goryunova PhD, MBA


women coaches, basketball, NCAA, WNBA, Leadership and Organizational Studies


This research aimed to clarify the state of women in coaching in the U.S. The findings point at the very low number of women in positions of coaching and leadership at the highest levels of basketball in the United States, which include NCAA Division 1, the NBA and the WNBA. Women coached just over 50% of NCAA Division 1 collegiate basketball women’s teams; and with over 350 Division 1 teams, it is sad to see only about half of those women’s teams being coached by women. Out of the 30 NBA teams with an average of five or six coaches per team, there is only one woman among NBA coaching staffs. In addition, in the WNBA, only half of the Head Coaches are women, which does not say much when it is only a 12-team league that lasts three months. This qualitative phenomenology design research utilized interview method in order to clarify the state of women in coaching. This study may benefit athletic directors at the Higher Ed system and other policy makers focused on issues of diversity and equal representation of women at all leadership levels. This study may also benefit women who seek to become coaches as they will have a better idea of the obstacles they will be facing.