In NCAA Division I women’s basketball, Black female coaches make up only a small percentage of the total number of coaches (i.e., 26%; NCAA, 2016) even though the majority of student-athletes are Black (i.e., 51%). Although these discrepancies have recently been recognized in sport studies literature (Borland & Bruening, 2010; LaVoi & Dutove, 2012), sport psychology researchers have yet to explore the underlying structural and psychological issues that lead to the underrepresentation of Black female coaches in NCAA Division I women’s basketball. To this end, we utilized narrative inquiry (Smith & Sparkes, 2009a) in the current study to explore the stories of eight NCAA Division I women’s basketball assistant coaches who identify as Black females. During face-to-face interviews, participants described the roles they are asked to fill and the ways they cope with the multiple oppressions they experience as Black women in coaching. The first and second authors co-constructed four themes, (a) Pregame: Learning to coach; (b) First half: Experiences from the first 10 years; (c) Second half: Experiences from the last five years; and (d) Overtime: Thinking about the future, throughout their thematic analysis of these narratives (Braun & Clark, 2006). It is hoped that these findings will lead to the development of interventions that can empower NCAA Division I Black female coaches as well as challenge current structural ideologies that disadvantage Black female coaches in this context. Further, creating a more inclusive environment at NCAA Division I institutions could enhance the experiences and coaching career aspirations of Black female student-athletes by allowing them to see empowered Black female role models in coaching positions. Implications for certified mental performance consultants (CMPCs) working within NCAA Division I women’s basketball, who are well positioned to contribute to these efforts, are also discussed.
African American, Collegiate, Women, Narrative Inquiry, Epistolary, Representation, Gendered Racism
1. The research was funded by an NCAA Graduate Student Research Grant. 2. The authors would like to thank the assistant coaches who participated in this study.
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Recommended APA Citation
Larsen, L. K., Fisher, L., & Moret, L. (2019). The Coach’s Journal: Experiences of Black Female Assistant Coaches in NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball. The Qualitative Report, 24(3), 632-658. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2019.3742