Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Recreation and Sport Management

Major Professor

Adam Love

Committee Members

Jeffrey Graham, Steven Waller


This purpose of this study was to understand coaches’ perceptions of the importance of girls’ sport participation in high schools, as well as the realities these coaches faced at Title I high schools. There is little existing research covering how coaches view and prepared female athletes in low-income communities and what their goals are for these athletes moving forward in both the short- and long-term sense.This study used Pierre Bourdieu’s ideas of capital as the theoretical framework, and studied how coaches of female high school sports in low-income community affected the accumulation of social, economical, and cultural capital for these athletes. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews with 10 different coaches at Title I high schools in two East Tennessee counties. A constructivist approach was used in order for the coaches to dictate what information was important and necessary for study. Data analysis was done by open coding the transcriptions of the interviews and using an inductive approach to finding themes and patterns.The findings showed how coaches are concerned with forming their athletes into more confident and capable people holistically, not just on the field or court. These coaches are often restricted in facilities, fundraising, and outside athletic opportunities because of the low-income nature of their school, but they did not use this as an excuse not to win or be fully committed to growing their program. The conclusions drawn from this research can be used to show the need for continued support of the growth of female high school sport programs and the funding necessary to allow coaches to mold successful athletes and people.

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."