Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Joy T. DeSensi

Committee Members

Leslee A. Fisher, Dr. Hastings, Dr. Hatch


Women hold less than 2% of NCAA men’s head coaching positions (Acosta & Carpenter, 2004). Although there is extensive research that explores the experience and lack of female head coaches of women’s teams, little research investigates the experience and lack of female head coaches of men’s teams, particularly at the collegiate level. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the experience of female head coaches of men’s collegiate teams. Issues these coached faced because of their gender, the impact they had on their male athletes, and their male athletes’ impact on them were investigated.

A critical feminist ontology and epistemology was used to analyze in-depth interviews with ten female head coaches of men’s NCAA Division I and Division III swimming, track and field, cross country, tennis, and golf programs. The four major themes of this study included: positives, difficulties and issues, athlete gender differences, and consciousness raising and empowerment. The major themes, their respective subthemes, and supporting participant quotes are described and discussed along with ties to relevant research. Also, based on the findings, conclusions, recommendations to improve the work situation of female head coaches of men’s collegiate teams and increase the number of women coaching men, and suggestions for future research are provided.

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