Sports commentary: Lack of female coaches

Shorewood should increase their number of female coaches

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by Amelia Severn, staff

In the sports world, coaches can make or break a single game or a season. Coaches can bring a team together or separate them. Coaches can make a positive or negative impact on any person’s life. 

When you look along the sideline at any sporting event, one thing stands out, and that is almost all the coaches are male. This is true in the NFL, where there are around 400 coaches including head coaches, defensive coordinators, etc. In 2021, only 12 of those 400 were women. This is also true in female leagues such as the National Women’s Soccer League, NWSL, where there are 12 head coaches and only five of them are female: Laura Harvey, Amanda Cromwell, Freya Coombe, Rhian Wilkinson, and Casey Stoney. 

It’s a huge problem surrounding all sports, and that includes here at Shorewood. 

As of right now there are five head coaches in girls’ swimming, girls’ volleyball, girls’ gymnastics, and girls’ golf. There are also 15 assistant and volunteer coaches across the rest of the sports. This is actually a very good number of female coaches out of the 18 sports here, but there are still improvements we can make when including women in sports.

Photo Courtesy of Kirsti Lynn

For years, sports were traditionally male activities and that included coaching as well. But as female sports have been on the rise the past couple of years, many have begun to realize this huge problem. Now I personally do not care if my coach is female or male as long as they are qualified, as I have had both male and female coaches in my career thus far and have had great experiences with both. What I do have a problem with is jobs that could be filled by very qualified female coaches getting passed over to unqualified male coaches. 

I have heard great things about many male coaches here at Shorewood, but not all of them. I understand there is a lack of females who want coaching positions, but I also think it is important that the female athletes here at Shorewood learn from female coaches that have been in their shoes and can inspire them to achieve their goals. If that means putting a little bit more effort and resources to get women to coach, I believe that should happen.

Joann Fukuma, athletic director, is always trying to include more females here in sports. “It’s in the back of my mind always on having role models that bring experience and bring the qualifications that look like the same gender,” she said. “I know what good coaching should look like…but working with coaches to understand that and get those [role models] is my big goal…so I listen to parents, I listen to students, I listen to other coaches.”

I believe the greatest leap in including more females in sports is h

Photo Courtesy of Kristi Lynn

iring a female athletic director who can promote change and create a great environment within their sport. The most important value Fukuma looks for is experience, whether that

’s going through college sports or being a previous varsity coach. She is looking for the most qualified person. To her it doesn’t matter the gender of the sport or the coach, a female coach can get a position in male sports or male can get a position in female sports, it doesn’t matter.

What Fukuma has done to promote change at this school is amazing, but I believe there are still big leaps we need to make in order to create an outstanding sports culture at Shorewood with role models that will take athletes to the highest level and beyond. Yes, we need the best coaches but I think we need to start focusing more on finding the best female coaches that can be a role model for young female athletes. Most importantly we need coaches that will create an impact on a young person’s life that they will take with them for a lifetime.