Faculty Research at Morehead State University

Document Type


Publication Date



The recent coaching employment of Becky Hammon and Kathryn Smith in the NBA and NFL inspired the discussion of the potential of witnessing the first female head coach hired in men’s professional basketball and football. Despite the presence of female leaders in many business and political realms, there still seems to be a lack of gender equality in the employment of female administrators and coaches in the male-dominant sports. This study investigates how women were perceived as ideal head coaching candidates in a male dominant sport based on 132 student-athletes’ responses (70 males and 62 females). An exploratory factor analysis was performed to address four areas of responses: (1) participants’ belief in female coaches’ competency, (2) disadvantages and stereotypes faced by the female coaches, (3) the traditional dominant thoughts, (4) preference toward female coaches, and (5) female coaches’ unique traits and strengths. In general, the respondents moderately agree that females have the adequate abilities and knowledge as male coaches do to handle the coaching tasks; however, they still don’t feel very comfortable about having a female as their head coach. In agreement with several findings, the research showed that male athletes are more likely to show disrespect toward female coaches and question their desire to win. Additional constructive strategies were provided to support future females overcoming the perceived barriers for becoming a head coach and improve existing hiring practices.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.